2016 Board Schedule Update


Please note that the following regular meetings scheduled for the Barry Conservation District Board have been cancelled:

May 20, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
June 17, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
July 15, 2016- 7:30 am- Pennock Hospital
August 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
September 16, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital

The Barry Conservation District Board has changed its 2016 meeting schedule to the following:


The Barry Conservation District meets at 6:00 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Barry 911 Dispatch Center, 2600 Nashville Rd, Hastings, MI, unless otherwise noted:

May 24, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
June 28, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
July 26, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
August 23, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
September 27, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
October 25, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
November 22, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
December 27, 2016- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
January 24, 2017- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch
February 28, 2017- 6:00 pm, Central Dispatch

The meetings will be held under the provisions of Open Meetings Act (Public Act 267 of 1976) at the Barry County Central Dispatch Conference Room, 2600 Nashville Rd, Hastings, MI

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As summer approaches, effort to stop oak disease continues

With the weather warming up, trees around the state will soon fill with leaves again.

But not for some red oak trees in the state.

Oak wilt, an invasive fungal disease that can easily kill red oak trees, has spread to trees across the state, mainly in northern Michigan. Once infected with oak wilt, red oak trees die within three weeks of infection — and there’s no treatment for the disease once it has spread.

“Oak wilt is probably one of the largest diseases I’ve been dealing with as a forester, and have been dealing with for quite some time,” said Kama Ross, district forester for Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse conservation districts.

Credit Courtesy of Michigan's Department of National Resources

Credit Courtesy of Michigan’s Department of National Resources

The oak wilt infection occurs when fungus spreads through the roots of a healthy tree, and can be spread to trees around it through connecting root systems. The disease can also be transmitted by beetles, which can carry the oak wilt pathogen after they feed the sap from on infected trees.

The disease can also spread by moving infested firewood.

Bob Heyd, a forest health specialist with Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, told Michigan Radio the disease is quite infectious.

“It’s not really fast-moving, but as it goes from tree to tree, more trees have it and it will spread to more trees. It’s something you want to react to as quick as you can,” Heyd said.

While the department is working to detect all cases of oak wilt, Heyd says just “because we haven’t detected it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

Red oaks play a valuable role in Michigan as an important part of a habitat for the acorns it produces. Additionally, according to Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, red oak timber is worth approximately $1.6 billion in the state.

Ross said looking into this issue specifically made her realize how interconnected ecosystems and habitats are, and how vital each part of them is.

“I just am now starting to get it — just how interrelated everything we currently have in our world is and how important we need to think about those things that we don’t necessarily see,” Ross said.

She pointed to how the red oaks serve as a valuable habitat for insects, a vital part of a food chain. Basically, if the red oaks are hurt by this disease, the surrounding habitat will suffer with it.

“We need to be good stewards of the land, and oak wilt is one of those that we do have some control over if we do actually get it,” Ross said.

While the infected red oaks are untreatable, both Heyd and Ross recommended ways to prevent the spread of the disease:

1. Leave trees alone. To prevent further infection across the state, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources advises residents to not prune oak trees between April 15 and July 15 — the peak growing season for the red oaks. Pruning means cutting off any parts of the tree or exposing any sap — which oak wilt-carrying beetles are attracted to.

2.Don’t move your firewood. Oak wood can be spread by the movement of the infected wood.

3.Diversify your woods. Ross says she has told residents of her district to consider planting other kinds of oak trees — which are not as susceptible to the disease — to break up the types of roots capable of spreading the disease to other trees around it.

Perhaps the most important thing to know? Oak wilt isn’t going away any time soon.

“It’s not going to go away, so if you get a new outbreak of oak wilt, just letting it be is not an answer,” Ross said.

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American Chestnut Project

American Chestnut

American chestnut can grow to nearly 100 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter. Given the right conditions, it can begin producing nuts around 7-8 years and deer, turkey, pheasant, ruffed grouse, wood ducks, squirrels, and songbirds all crack open the spiny burs to reveal the tasty chestnuts within. The tree’s small green flowers arranged as long, drooping catkins also attract wildlife. Keep in mind that these trees require at least two individuals for pollination, but it is recommended you plant more than that in case not all survive to maturity. American chestnut is a great tree for timber harvest as well and, if you look hard enough, you can still find chestnut built into many of the barns in the county.

The American chestnut was once a dominant tree in its natural range, a belt stretching from Maine to Missouri across the Great Appalachian Valley. An airborne bark fungus causing chestnut blight was discovered in 1904 and it is estimated that three to four billion individual trees were lost to the disease in the first half of the twentieth century. The chestnut’s range now includes most of the US east of the Mississippi River and Michigan is blessed with one of the few remaining productive groves in the nation.

The American Chestnut Council, based out of Cadillac, is working with BCD to sell trees grown from the nuts produced by that grove. The council has been running this program for decades and the district is thrilled to be able to offer these trees in the spring. Although they are not guaranteed blight-free and are not hybridized to be blight-resistant, if adequately protected from drought and wildlife until mature, the trees should grow well for many years.

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New Board Directors!

Congratulations to Fred Flower and Jim Skipper, our newly elected board members!

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BCD Seeks Forester

Position Available: Conservation District Forester 

The Barry Conservation District seeks a Forester to work within the Forestry Assistance Program. Position requires a minimum of a B.S. or M.S. in Forestry. This is a grant-funded position, renewed annually. The wage ($40k – $45k) will be commensurate with candidate’s experience.

Send cover letter and resume by April 18, 2016 to:
Sarah Nelson, Executive Director
Barry Conservation District
1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105
Hastings, MI 49058
(269) 948-8037 x117
The Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) 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.

Basic requirements for this position include:

  • Bachelor or Master of Science degree in forestry from a college or university with a forestry program accredited by the Society of American Foresters
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to read various types of maps and navigate through properties
  • Provide transportation to office and field visits (mileage reimbursement is provided)

Activities for this position include:

  • Serve as the initial point of contact for forest resource issues or concerns
  • Fulfill FAP grant agreement requirements and deliverables
  • Conduct on-site land examination and resource evaluation
  • Provide advice and options regarding forest management for timber production, windbreaks, wildlife habitat, etc.
  • Provide diagnosis and advice on the control of insects, disease, and wildlife pests for individual trees and woodlands
  • Provide information and make referrals regarding programs, agencies, organizations, and private sector interests that furnish technical and/or financial assistance for natural resource management activities
  • Prepare correspondence, reports, news articles, handouts, etc.
  • Maintain a collaborative working relationship with forest management professionals
  • Conduct demonstrations and workshops
  • Pursue certification with the Society of American Foresters
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March 18th Regular Meeting Cancellation Notice


Please note that the regular meeting scheduled for the Barry Conservation District Board on March 18th, 2016 has been cancelled. The annual meeting will take place on March 30th, 2016 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm at the Barry 911 Dispatch Center, 2600 Nashville Rd., Hastings.

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Tree Sale Online Store

Exciting news- we have an online store available for the tree sale this year and are accepting credit cards! Please access our NEW online store here: https://squareup.com/store/bcd If you have problems with the store, please contact us at (269) 948-8037 x117. Thank-you for your patience as we test out the new system!

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2016 Spring Tree Sale

We are gearing up for our annual Spring Tree Sale and couldn’t be more excited to offer a wide variety of native species. What are native species and why are they important? “Native species” is a term used to describe a species, in this case a tree or shrub, which has historically been found in an area without having been brought here by humans.

What makes this so important is that it means that individual plants of these species have a complex combination of traits that have been selected for over millions of years so that they are particularly well-suited to this area. What this means for the grower is that, when planted in the appropriate spot, native plants require less watering and maintenance over the years than non-native species and are more likely to withstand the wide range of extreme weather conditions in this area. They are also more resistant to local pests. Native plants are better-suited for sustaining diverse native wildlife communities and are much less likely to become invasive.

To get ready for the tree sale, we will feature a new native tree and shrub each week. All of these species are available through the district’s Spring Tree Sale. Check back to learn more!

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District Forester

BCD has a new district forester. Welcome, Matt Modlin!

Matt received his Master of Forestry degree from Michigan Tech University. He gained natural resources experience working on a National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arkansas managing invasive species and endangered species. He has also worked setting up and administering timber sales with the Michigan DNR. Matt loves to fly fish, bird hunt, go hiking, camping, canoeing, and wildlife photography. He hopes he can be a valuable resource for you and your land and would love to take a walk through your woods with you. He can be reached at (269) 948-8037 x190 or matt.modlin@macd.org.

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