December MFRC Newsletter

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MFRC Newsletter

December 2018

December 11, 2018

Jim Hubbard

USDA Under Secretary spends the day with MFRC

On November 29, 2018, Jim Hubbard, Under Secretary for Natural Resources, met with leaders from the Minnesota forestry community to review an array of collaborative efforts that have developed over the past 20 plus years in Minnesota through the coordination work of the MFRC. Two sessions were held with an array of forestry leaders in the state, the first focused on the work by the Council’s Research Advisory Committee and the second on the work of the Landscape Program and regional committees to facilitate landscape level management.  The Under Secretary for Natural Resources has direct oversight over the US Forest Service.

MFRC Research Advisory Committee Session

This session provided the Under Secretary with an overview of the Research Advisory Committee purpose and structure; priority research issues in MN and forestry information needs; commonalities with USFS initiatives; and discussion on development of a regional research cooperative.

Most of the meeting attendees were affiliated with the RAC, but we were fortunate to also have some key staff attend from WI DNR and participate. Rob Slesak provided a broad overview of resource conditions in the state, background on the need for science-based management, and an overview of the research prioritization process and its value in achieving sustainable forest management in MN. RAC members were able to share their views of the RAC process, and key research needs and issues specific to their institutions. Under Secretary Hubbard was very engaged throughout the meeting and shared his perspective on how our work in Minnesota could potentially integrate and inform the shared stewardship initiative of the Forest Service. The meeting closed with some great discussion on the value and need for a regional research cooperative among the lake states (MN, WI, and MI) to address shared research needs common to forest resources management. Everyone was supportive of the idea, and the MFRC will continue efforts to engage key entities to make the cooperative a reality. Overall, the meeting was a great success and allowed us to highlight the unique and innovative way we go about addressing forest resource information needs in Minnesota.

Shared Stewardship Session

The second session described how Shared Stewardship fits into Minnesota’s overall management approach and the new Arrowhead Project. Partners shared information about Minnesota’s approaches to outcome-based strategies across all land ownerships.

The group discussed the USDA’s Shared Stewardship initiative and the foundational work Minnesota has done over the past twenty years in landscape level management. Minnesota's longtime practice of landscape planning and coordination assists private landowners and public land managers work together to develop a comprehensive vision that balances the many interests on our forests with the long term need to ensure resilient and productive forests for the future. The regional committees work to coordinate the implementation of the landscape plans on an ongoing basis.

Forrest Boe and Connie Cummins described the new collaborative project in Northeastern Minnesota, the "Arrowhead Pilot Project”, where managers are working together to plan and coordinate vegetation management on a cross boundary basis on a 500,000 acre mixed land ownership area in northwestern St Louis County. This project will help in treating more acres as well as more efficient use of forest resources in this area. This project is an effort that MFRC is coordinating alongside State, Federal, and County lands managers. It requires that we view ecosystems and restoration in a way that improves efficiency and effectiveness of restoration treatments by allowing for more diverse funding sources, involve stakeholder buy in, and synchronizing activities across all landowner ownerships.

At this session, the group also talked about opportunities we have in Minnesota for investment in our forests and partnerships to achieve this balance approach to "all land" management. Increasing pace and scale of forest management has a very important value for economics, habitat, water quality, and the many important benefits our forests provide us each day. In wrapping up the session, the Under Secretary remarked on the great progress that the Minnesota forestry community has made over the past two decades on developing and implementing landscape scale approaches.


The day-long event with the Under Secretary Hubbard was a great success. Discussions over the day resulted in an increased awareness about the work of the Council and its programs.


HUbbard group

Slesak observing Emerald Ash Borer

Getting the Word Out on EAB and Black Ash

Findings from a collaborative research project on EAB and black ash were recently presented at a tour attended by several state legislators and the Minnesota Forestry Association.  The goal was to communicate the impacts of EAB in black ash swamps and the need for continued assessment and development of mitigation strategies.  Brian Palik (Forest Service – Northern Research Station), Alexis Grinde (Natural Resources Research Institute) and Rob Slesak (MFRC Director of Applied Research) discussed their work related to tree regeneration, wildlife, and hydrology and how EAB is likely to alter these aspects of black ash ecosystems.  A key message was that much needs to be done to maintain these resources under the threat of EAB.  Everyone was very engaged during the tour and there was much interest in continuing the discussion during the legislative session.    

Shown in photo:

Rob Slesak, MFRC Director of Applied Research, discusses what the loss of ash with EAB will mean for wetland hydrology and water quality. 

Minnesota Forest Resources Council Open Positions

View open positions and apply here.

Visit Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan Gubernatorial Transition Site

Click here to visit site.

Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health Act of 2017

Visit Senate Bill S.962 by clicking here.

Forestry and Wildlife Research Review

2019 Forestry and Wildlife Research Review - January 10, 2019

The Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative (SFEC) is once again holding its annual event to highlight new applied research relevant to natural resource managers.   The 2019 Forestry and Wildlife Research Review will be held on January 10 at the Cloquet Forestry Center near Cloquet, MN. This event is always an excellent opportunity to hear about new work on topics related to silviculture, forest management, and forest wildlife management.  Plan to attend to hear the latest research and network with natural resource professionals from around the state. The agenda, registration link, and other details are at  See you in January! 


Dave Sterr

In Memorium

Former Council Member Dave Sterr

Dave Sterr, former Council member, passed away on November 16, 2018 at the age of 79.  He served on the Council as the tribal representative from 2001 to 2005.  Dave served in the US Army, first enlisting in 1958.  Following military service, he attended the University of Florida graduating in 1975 with a degree in Forestry. He retired in 2005 following thirty years with the US Bureau of Indian Affairs in Bemidji, Minnesota.  He served as the Agency Forester with forest management responsibilities for seven reservations in Minnesota including Leech Lake, Net Lake, White Earth, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, and Red Lake.  Dave lived a very active life and had a passion for helping others.  He will be missed. 


  • Wednesday, December 5 - Northern Landscape Committee Meeting, International Falls, MN
  • Friday, December 14 - NE Landscape Committee Meeting, Virginia, MN
  • Thursday, January 17 - Council meeting, Shoreview, MN

To view MFRC Meeting Calendars online click here.


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