Article #32, February 2000
By Bill Cook
[Note: Funding for the CRMI was eliminated in January, 2002. Only Rory Mattson continues to work full-time. Lauri LaBumbard and Jim Sweeting have limited hours. The Conservation District offices in Crystal Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, and Manistique are without in-house forestry and wildlife management expertise.]
The Michigan legislature has funded an effort called the “Cooperative Resource Management Initiative” or CRMI. The idea is to develop and enhance service programs to the private landowner. Conservation Districts are a local source of free natural resource management assistance, available in each Michigan county.
The “cooperative” part comes from agreements and funding through the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan DNR, and the County Conservation Districts. Many folks are already aware of at least some of the services provided through the Conservation Districts. The CRMI will serve to extend these kinds of programs statewide and to provide a consistent level of services.
In terms of the Upper Peninsula, two Conservation District positions were added to the four that were already here. These people are called “resource professionals” and are designed to be the first contact many landowners might make when seeking natural resource management assistance. Technical support will be provided by DNR Cooperative Forest Management specialists, DNR Wildlife Division, MSU Extension, and others. Conservation District contacts by county are:
Lauri LaBumbard at 906-226-2461.
Baraga, Dickinson, Iron: Bill Millis at 906-875-3765.
Chippewa, East Mackinac: Keith Kintigh at 906-635-1278.
Delta, Menominee: Rory Mattson at 906-428-4076 (ext. 3).
Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon: Jim Sweeting at 906-884-2141.
Luce, Schoolcraft, West Mackinac: Barbara Fillmore at 906-341-8215.
As you need information about forestry, wildlife habitat management, water resources, endangered species, or other natural resource topics, contact your Conservation District. Of course, these folks are not experts in all fields, but they will help you sort through the maze of service providers to get you to the right place. They are also available for site visits. Most likely, they will recommend you pursue a management plan and can point you in the right direction.
Keep in mind that MSU Extension offices are also a local source of information and publications about forestry and natural resources.
Changing topics, please remember to contact a forester before a timber sale. The decisions you make will affect the forest, wildlife, water quality, or other values for many years. There is not much anyone can do after a contract is signed, an agreement made, or the trees are harvested. Do not take the first offer for your timber and be certain that you have a good timber sale contract in place that has been evaluated by a third-party forester. Your timber may be worth thousands of dollars. Treat it as carefully as you would any other investment or asset of this size.
Finally, remember that tax time is just around the corner. If you had a timber sale in 1999, make sure that you understand the impacts the sale income will have on your taxes. If you treat that extra income as ordinary taxable income, Uncle Sam will be grateful for the extra taxes you pay. If you would rather keep the dollars yourself, make sure that you get some good tax advice.
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Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 906-786-1575.
by Bill Cook, Forester/Biologist, Michigan State University Extension, 6005
J Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
906-786-1575 (voice), 906-786-9370 (fax), e-mail: email@example.com
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