2015-2016 Board Meeting Schedule

Barry Conservation District
Monthly Meeting Schedule

The Barry Conservation District meets at 7:30 am on the third Friday of the month, unless otherwise noted*

October 16th, 2015- Pennock Hospital
November 20, 2015- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
December 17, 2015- 6:00 pm- County Seat**
January 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
February 19, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
March 18, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
April 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
May 20, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
June 17, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
August 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
September 16, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital

The meetings will be held under the provisions of Open Meetings Act (Public Act 267 of 1976) at Pennock Hospital in the Village View Conference Room, 1009 W. Green St, Hastings, MI

*The District’s Annual Meeting date and place has yet to be determined.
**December meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the County Seat, 128 S Jefferson St, Hastings, MI

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Now Hiring District Forester

The Barry Conservation District (BCD) seeks a Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) Forester. Position requires a minimum of a B.S. or M.S. in Forestry. This is a granted position, renewed annually. The wage ($40k – $45k) will be commensurate with candidate’s experience and education and include a benefit contribution.

Send cover letter and resume by November 11, 2015 to:
Sarah Nelson, Executive Director
Barry Conservation District
1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105
Hastings, MI 49058
(269) 948-8037 x117

This position description is for the Barry Conservation District. The Forestry Assistance Program provides private forested landowners with technical assistance and information regarding forestry, wildlife habitat, and related natural resource concerns, so that they may make informed decisions about the use and management of their forestlands. (“Landowners” include non-industrial private forestland owners, schools, local units of government, rural and urban residents.)

The Barry Conservation District will be the employer of record for this position and the forester will report directly to the BCD Executive Director. Primary office space for the Forestry position is located at BCD office in Hastings, Michigan. The forester’s time is allocated between the Barry, Allegan and Ottawa Conservation Districts, but office duties may be carried out at this “primary” office. The forestry position is primarily a field position.

The basic requirements for this position are:

  • Bachelor or Master of Science degree in forestry from a college or university with an accredited forestry program
  • Good communication skills (writing, public speaking, working with individuals of all ages)
  • Computer fluency
  • Ability to read various types of maps (aerial, topography, soils) and navigate through properties, accordingly
  • Ability to assist CD and Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) staff to achieve deliverables as well as short- and long-term goals for the Conservation Districts and NRCS
  • Arboriculture experience is highly recommended but not required.


  • Serves as initial point of contact for non-industrial private forest landowners, local governments, etc. for forest management, wildlife habitat, other natural resource issues or concerns.
  • Fulfill grant agreement requirements and deliverables.
  • Provides on-site land examination and resource evaluation.
  • Provides options regarding forest management.
  • Provides options regarding wildlife habitat management.
  • Prepares written follow-ups that may include appropriate handouts/materials, after visiting with landowners on-site or in the office, as appropriate.
  • Provides advice on tree planting/reforestation for timber production, windbreaks, wildlife habitat.
  • Provides diagnosis and advice on the control of insects, disease, and wildlife pests for individual trees and woodlands.
  • Provides information and makes referrals regarding programs, agencies, organizations, and private sector interests that furnish technical and/or financial assistance for natural resource management activities.
  • Maintains a good working relationship with other forestry assistance providers, both public and private.
  • Provides technical input regarding species selection for the Conservation Districts’ annual tree, shrub, plant sales. (Native species that are useful for reforestation, wildlife habitat, soil erosion control, etc.)
  • Provides advice on the control of sedimentation resulting from forest management activities.
  • Conducts demonstration and workshops.
  • Prepares correspondence, reports, news articles, newsletter.
  • Assists with preparation of the program documentation, including, but not limited to: annual grant application, Natural Resource Plan of Work, etc.
  • Prepares regular, written reports to Conservation District boards (monthly),
  • Pursue certification with Society of American Foresters (SAF)

A performance evaluation will be conducted annually. Training and continuing education opportunities will be provided.

The Barry Conservation District’s mission is to promote responsible natural resource and land-use management for present and future generations. We are an equal opportunity employer and program provider.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exotic Insect Found Infesting Hemlock Trees in Ottawa County (MDARD Press Release)

Confirmed in three locations in Park Township
For immediate Release: August 13, 2015
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
Program contact: 800-292-3939

LANSING – Today, Ottawa County residents have an alert arborist to thank for the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid, which triggered response efforts by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help protect the state’s hemlock trees and other natural resources.

The infestation was discovered in June by an alert arborist working in Park Township who reported his suspicion to MDARD. Samples were sent to a United States Department of Agriculture insect identifier who confirmed the insect as HWA.  MDARD immediately initiated a survey of hemlock trees within a mile of the positive site and during that survey two more positive locations were discovered. Impacted property owners have been notified and the known infested trees are being treated. MDARD is currently working with its state and federal partners on a comprehensive response plan.

HWA is a small, aphid-like insect that uses its long siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees.  Native to eastern Asia, HWA was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has since spread over an area from Georgia to Maine, decimating hemlock stands across much of the eastern U.S. HWA will cause widespread tree mortality and move to other areas if left untreated.

“Michigan is home to more than 100 million hemlock trees which provide valuable habitat for various animals including birds, deer and fish. These trees are critical to the ecology and aesthetics of Michigan’s northern forests,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This discovery underscores the importance of citizen involvement in exotic pest detection.  Without the report from an alert individual, it may have gone unnoticed for months, or even years, making management of this devastating pest much more difficult.”

The area of concern is described as all portions of Park Township in Ottawa County north of Lake Macatawa. It’s bounded by New Holland Street to the north, Division Avenue/144th Avenue to the east, Lake Macatawa to the south and Lake Michigan to the west. People who live, work and play in the area of concern should be aware that HWA can be very difficult to detect at low population levels because the insect is so small.  The movement of hemlock materials (trees, branches and twigs) could spread HWA.  At this time, hemlock materials should not be removed from properties within the area of concern.  It’s recommended no hemlock trees be brought into the area of concern as they run the risk of becoming infested. Also, because birds move HWA, people in the area of concern should remove any bird feeders from hemlock trees.

The origin of these infestations is not known. Work is being conducted by MDARD in an effort to identify the source of the infestation. So far, no clear source has been found, but a likely source is hemlock nursery stock moved into Michigan from infested areas outside of the state either prior to MDARD’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine implemented in 2002, or in violation of the quarantine. There are no known established populations of HWA anywhere else in Michigan.

“Nursery operators, landscapers and homeowners should never accept hemlock from quarantined areas, and never accept hemlock without proper certification,” said Alessandri. “Examine your hemlock for the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of the branches where the needles attach.  If you suspect HWA, contact MDARD immediately.”

Michigan law restricts the movement of hemlock into the state, and includes a complete ban of movement of hemlock into the state from infested areas.

See a map showing the “area of concern” here.

Read MDARD’s “Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine” here.

To report a possible HWA detection, contact MDARD at 800- 292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov.

Additional information on HWA, including pictures, and other invasive and exotic species threatening Michigan can be found at www.michigan.gov/exoticpests.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wild Edibles Hike a Success

wild_edibles_2On July 18th, 30 residents of Barry County, led by District Forester Shawn Kelly, enjoyed a beautiful day hiking while learning about the various edible plants found in Michigan. Throughout the 1.5 mile hike at Pierce Cedar Creek participants stopped to explain how to safely identify and prepare several species of tasty plants. Participants enjoyed a taste in the field of a variety of fruit, roots, tubers and seeds and learned how ethnobotany has shaped the foods medicines and tinctures we use today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antler collection to benefit Youth Day 2015

Preparations are well underway for the second annual Youth Day, a free event in early September to introduce children to a wide variety of outdoor activities. In order to make this event possible, friends of the event are looking into some pretty creative fundraising ideas. George Cullers, a local trapper, is leading an ongoing antler collection to help raise funds to support this free day of fun and activity.

Cullers got the idea from a group in Oregon that generated over $7,000 by collecting antlers. He is working with a buyer out of Ionia County and hopes that the fundraising will be fruitful, given that Barry County has such a wonderful wealth of avid hunters and outdoorsmen.

If you have antlers you would like to donate or a group that would like to collect donations around the county, you can contact George at (269) 945-9218. Donations can also be dropped off at Al & Pete’s Sport Shop, 111 S. Jefferson in Hastings, (269)-945-4417, M-Th: 10-5:30 Fri: 10-8 Sat: 9-5:30. For more information about Youth Day and how you can get involved, contact the Barry Conservation District at (269) 948-8037 x117.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oak wilt confirmed in southwest Michigan

Late last month District Forester Shawn Kelly reported two pockets of Oak wilt that were identified along the dunes in Grand Haven, MI.

“Oak wilt is a serious disease affecting Michigan’s oak resource. Oaks (especially red oaks) usually die within weeks of becoming infected,” said Shawn Kelly, District Forester for Barry, Ottawa, and Allegan Counties.

oak wilt

A fungal spore mat on one of the trees identified by Shawn as infected in Grand Haven

The fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum causes the disease by invading the vascular system of the tree. Symptoms of oak wilt start with a subtle off-coloring of the leaves. Shortly after, the leaves will begin to wilt from the top down. As the disease progresses, the leaves will turn a bronze color and eventually are cast from the tree. Trees are commonly entirely defoliated within a few weeks of symptom onset. In members of the red oak family, wilting is followed by rapid death of trees whereas in white oaks, death is usually limited to one or more branches of the tree. The red oak family in Michigan includes red, black, scarlet and pin oaks and the white oak family includes white, swamp white and bur oaks.

Oak wilt moves from tree to tree in two ways: underground via interconnected roots or overland by certain insects. Underground spread of the fungus can occur between oaks up to 100 feet away. The main insect that spreads the fungus, picnic beetles, are attracted to the fresh sap flow from a freshly cut tree and are thought to travel up to five miles in search for newly wounded tree.

To prevent the spread of this disease, it is especially important for landowners to not prune their oak trees from April to July 15th, when the picnic beetles are most active, to avoid attracting the beetles carrying the fungus from infected trees.

Oak wilt is difficult to diagnose in the field and is often times confused with other common oak disorders such as Anthracnose, oak decline, and two-lined chestnut borer. It is best to have your oaks diagnosed by a forestry professional or certified arborist that is trained in oak wilt management. If you suspect oak wilt on your property or in your community, contact Shawn Kelly at the Barry Conservation District (269-948-8037 x114 or shawn.kelly@macd.org) to request a diagnosis.

The Barry Conservation District is your local resource for natural resource management, helping people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment for future generations in Barry County

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spruce Needlecast a Growing Concern in Southwest Michigan

The weather is warming up and Barry County residents continue to delight in the beautiful buds, fragrant flowers, and lush leaves that spring brings to our forests. That extra time spent outdoors admiring nature may also lead you to discover some worrisome changes in your trees. If you notice your spruce trees exhibiting purple or brown needles, your trees may be infected with Rhizosphaera Needlecast, a fungus that affects many varieties of spruce.


USDA Forest Service- A tree infected with Needlecast. Notice the most severe discoloration and loss of needles at the base and near the trunk of the tree.

The fungus is spread by water and is most commonly noticed in spring, although it is present -year-round and can become active at any time. It begins affecting the lowest and innermost needles first and eventually spreads to the rest of the tree if left untreated. The fungus is also identifiable by tiny dark specks on the infected needles. Normal needle die-off and some environmental problems can be confused with Needlecast, so it is important to contact a professional, such as Barry Conservation District Forester Shawn Kelly.

There is no way to cure old growth that is already infected by the fungus. However, you can protect new growth by applying a fungicide containing chlorothalonil to half-grown (about 1-1½ inch) needles and then reapplying the fungicide after 3-4 weeks. Follow the fungicide instructions carefully. Even with regular fungicide applications and pruning, it could take two or more years to control the fungus. In cases of severe infection in an area with many spruce close together, it might be more effective to remove infected trees.


USDA Forest Service- The needles closest to the branch are infected before the outermost needles.

There are many other ways to prevent future fungal infection. Selecting more resistant varieties like Norway spruce over susceptible varieties like Colorado blue spruce can help. Inspect any new trees before buying in order to avoid infected trees. Space trees properly to allow air flow and prune trees only when dry to help prevent the spread of fungus. After pruning infected trees, soak tools in denatured alcohol for a few minutes to sterilize them.

If you suspect that your trees might be infected with Needlecast or another disease or pest, please contact the Barry Conservation District (269-948-8056 x114), as early detection is the key to effective management of these problems.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring is here!

As April gives bow to May, the signs of spring are in full swing. Our part-time bird residents are beginning to return from warmer climes. Robins are busy searching for early meals on the ground. Morels, the harbinger of spring, are showing their delectable fruit. Maple trees are being tapped for their sweet sap. And once-dormant trees are beginning to wake up from the long winter rest.

This is also the time when spring wildflowers are making an appearance in a woodlot near you. Many of the early flowers are known as “spring ephemerals” because they only photosynthesize for a few brief weeks before the forest leaves bring deep shade to the forest floor. After that, their blossoms quickly wither and disappear. Ephemerals, such as trout lily, dutchman’s breeches, and spring beauty, virtually disappear from view by midsummer, so April and May are the best months to know and appreciate them. Depending on the day, a spring hiker might be treated to the fleeting flashes of color from flowers such as bloodroot, toothwort, trout lilies, blue cohosh, skunk cabbage, hepatica, or common violet. Wildflowers of spring have many stories to tell. From how they were named and what they were used for medicinally to their folklore stories, there is much to discover on a walk in the spring woods.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Track to a Greener Michigan at the Barry State Game Area

Consumers Energy, Michigan International Speedway provide trees for local planting

Article_3Thanks to the hard work of local area Boy Scouts, Barry County is now 690 trees richer. The Barry Conservation District teamed up with Boy Scout Troop 210 and other local scouts for a fun day planting white pines at the Barry State Game Area on Sunday, May 3rd.

This was the first official event for Caledonia’s newest Troop 210. The scouts forged invaluable bonds with local conservation leaders, which is in line with the group’s objectives, says Committee Chair Star Santiago. “Our goal is to serve our community, get the boys from various packs working together, treat each other like family, and give the boys every opportunity we can for them grow, learn, and make a difference.” The troop looks forward to growing and happily welcomes new members.

Article_1Barry Conservation District Forester Shawn Kelly led the group and explained the ecological importance of trees as well as the historic and industrial significance of white pines in Michigan. White pines serve as an excellent source of cover and food for deer and other wildlife, so their addition will certainly enhance the wildlife habitat of the game area.

Consumers Energy and Michigan International Speedway are providing 50,000 trees to be planted across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, part of their joint effort to get On Track to a Greener Michigan.

Article_2“MIS takes great pride in knowing that our green initiatives have made a significant, positive impact to the environment and sport of auto racing, and we continue to do different things to move forward with those initiatives,” said MIS President Roger Curtis. “It’s the right thing to do to protect our environment. Our brand at MIS is very much an environmentally friendly one.”

Michigan International Speedway last year became the largest participant in Consumers Energy’s Green Generation, matching 100 percent of its electricity use with renewable energy. Close to 20,000 homes and businesses in Michigan participate in Green Generation, contributing each month to purchase power from renewable sources, all made in Michigan.

Consumers Energy has adopted sustainability as a company-wide goal, meaning its employees operate with a fundamental commitment to leave their company and state better than they found them. They strive to fulfill the needs and wants of our generation without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

Posted in BCD Events | Leave a comment

Michigan’s Qualified Forest Program Ends 2014 with Success!

Michigan ranks third in the nation for timber production. The 20 million acres of forest cover in Michigan supports more than 125,000 timber and wood products jobs and generates more than $17 billion to Michigan’s economy each year and is projected to increase in the coming years.  In an effort to fuel regional economies through timber harvesting and individual tax savings, the Michigan Department of Agriculture implemented the Qualified Forest program (QFP) in 2014. Landowners who actively manage their forests for commercial harvest are provided a property tax exemption.  The program provides two potential tax benefits for enrolled landowners. First, a maximum 18 mill reduction of school operating taxes on non-homestead property with the qualified forest school tax affidavit. Second, a qualified forest taxable value affidavit prevents the “uncapping” of a property’s taxable value when a parcel currently enrolled in QFP changes ownership.

In 2014 Michigan enrolled a total of 74,544 acres into the QFP program. That number is up from the previous year, where Michigan enrolled 51,519 acres into the program. These numbers combined with parcels enrolled in previous versions of the program bring the total acres enrolled to 223,167.  With these numbers increasing annually, MIDNR hopes to boost the states forest products industry currently valued at $16 billion annually to $20 billion over the next five years.

To qualify for QFP, parcels must be 20 acres or larger. Parcels 20-39 acres in size must be at least 80 percent stocked with forest capable of producing wood products. Parcels 40-640 acres in size must be 50 percent stocked with forest capable of producing wood products. Additionally, all QFP applications must have a written forest management plan developed by a Qualified Forester. Application instructions as well as a directory of Qualified Foresters can be found on the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development site at www.michigan.gov/qfp.  You can also contact your local conservation district to determine if they can assist you.

Posted in BCD News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment