1st meeting of the Forestry NHI Certification Program Working Group Meeting
December 18, 2009 9‐10:30 am
9‐10:30 am, Room 413 (and via conference call)
GEF 2, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, WI
Attendees: External customers and partners: Ray Perry (WI Cooperating Foresters/Perry Forestry
Consulting), Dan Peterson (NewPage Corporation). Endangered Resources Program: Sarah Carter
(project coordinator), Rori Paloski, Lori Steckervetz (recorder). Division of Forestry: Drew Feldkirchner,
Carol Nielsen, Paul Westegaard.
Draft notes from meeting:
Next Meeting/Conference Call: Jan. 7th 8:30 – 10:30AM. Will be a live meeting / conference call
available as a backup.
1. Review membership of and clarify role, expectations, and other information related to the
Structure of program development/decision making process
This Working Group includes both technical and stakeholder aspects/participants, and is tasked
with providing recommendations to the oversight team regarding the stated goals
Additional people who will be copied on agendas/minutes from the working group meetings:
Jeff Barkley (County Forests), Jane Severt (County Forests), Rich Lavalley (Forest Tax Law Field
Manager), Kathy Nelson (Forest Tax Policy)
Oversight Team: Jeff Barkley (County Forest rep), Kathy Nelson or Mark Heyde, Jim Warren, Erin
Crain (ER). Role: review recommendations from working group and make final decision in light
of how recommendations fit in with program goals, considering funding and logistical issues.
Broader Review Group – will be formed at a later date
Group composition: Noted that there are 2 additional DNR regional forestry staff (Gary Vander Wyst
– Area Forestry Staff Specialist NOR, and Kate Lenz – Area Forestry Staff Specialist NER) that are
willing to participate in this working group. Sarah will follow up with Carol and these individuals to
see if they would prefer to participate in the group and/or be copied on group information.
Otherwise participants thought group composition was adequate to address the issues.
Decision Making: If working group is not able to reach consensus on an issue, present to oversight
team both what majority (show of hands vote) agrees on and minority alternatives.
2. Check‐in regarding overall goal:
a. Identify forestry groups to be considered, and for each
i. Identify products/actions that rely on or incorporate NHI data
ii. Identify current and desired NHI data access methods
iii. Identify current and needed NHI‐related training
iv. Identify possible means to fund provision of services
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b. Incorporate all of the above into a draft ‘NHI Certification Plan for Forestry’
c. Review, revise, and implement the ‘NHI Certification Plan for Forestry’
IMPORTANT NOTE: a. iv. is a goal for the overall process, but will be the responsibility of DNR staff
and the Oversight Team. The working group should keep costs in mind as they develop a training
plan, but determining specific costs is not part of the working group’s charge.
Background: ER recently conducted a year long program review to find out how the program could
better serve its customers (see http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/review/proposedChanges.asp for more
information). Two important recommendations that came out of this effort were 1) to expand sharing of
detailed data with external customers, and 2) to develop a ‘Certification Program’ to accompany
expanded sharing of data to better train users in how to understand, interpret, and apply the ER data to
their actions/products as well as to ensure the security of these sensitive data.
Concern expressed that for CPWs and Cooperating Foresters, Certification will mean increased costs and
a more complex process in the future vs. a data access method which currently has no cost, very few
requirements, and is perceived to be working fine. Thus does not see a benefit to certification for CPWs
and Cooperating Foresters, and has additional concerns about some Cooperating Foresters who
currently do not have computer access and/or limited technical abilities with computers. Group
discussed reasons for pursuing this initiative, including:
• Overarching goal of ER Review Program to improve on‐the‐ground conservation outcomes. Both
access to information and training in how to use, interpret and apply that information to
projects on the ground are needed to improve conservation outcomes. Approach is to provide
customers with a data access method and training that help reach this goal in a manner that is
as streamlined as possible.
• With FSC certification of more and more forest lands, there will be an increasing need to access
and use NHI data to inform proposed forest practices on these lands.
• Currently many forest practices are not evaluated for potential impacts to endangered
resources ‐ DNR would like to find ways to reduce this number.
• There is a consistency issue – some external forestry user groups have traditionally had
different training requirements and been provided with access to detailed NHI data in a manner
different from other external customers (e.g., other user groups are currently required to take 4
hours of formal training prior to being granted access to the detailed NHI data, and most pay a
fee for data access.) The ER Review Program is working to standardize how all services are
provided to program customers; sharing of detailed NHI data is one of these services.
• One benefit of Certification for customers is that certified individuals will be able to conduct
their own Proposed ER Reviews (which will be approved by DNR staff as required by law).
Ideally, this DNR review/signoff will be a quick process, as certified externals will have the
training, information, and tools they need to conduct ER Reviews as DNR staff do. This concept
and benefit is clearer for other user groups; past practices with training, data access, and use of
data by forestry users have varied.
Comment: It is important to identify the benefits of certification for different parties (e.g., expected
streamlining for DNR regional forestry staff who won’t have to do Portal lookups for external projects).
Sarah provided a brief overview of the membership, role, and status of the separate NHI Certification
Working Group which is tackling similar tasks for other user groups (e.g., utilities, developers, planners,
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Note that broader public input will be sought as the DNR seeks to change administrative rules governing
NHI services and fees. Public input would likely be sought this summer if the process proceeds on
schedule. Sarah will provide updates on this effort as it progresses.
Note from Sarah post‐meeting: We’ll be talking more about the overall goals of the initiative and the
specific charge for the Working Group at the January meeting.
3. Check‐in regarding revised process and timeline for reaching goal (note that this was modified
by Sarah post‐meeting in light of concerns brought up and materials covered during the
December 18, 2009 – Working Group Meeting – Discussed group role, process and guidelines;
identified forestry user groups, products/actions, current/desired data access mechanisms.
January 7, 2010 – Working Group Meeting – Revisit overall goal of process; clarify specific charge of
working group. Review of NHI data and its use for reviewing forestry practices and drafting MFL
plans. Pre‐reading: draft ‘Guidance for conducting Proposed Endangered Resources Reviews for the
March 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ discuss draft Certification competencies for forestry user
April 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ Review sample evaluation questions corresponding to the
core competencies for forestry user groups.
May 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ Identify competencies for which forestry user groups would
likely already have skills/experience and conversely those of highest priority for providing training.
Brainstorm regarding provision of training for core competency areas: format, length,
individuals/organizations who could provide or might be helpful in developing training.
June 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ Review and revise draft Training Plan (which will be based on
core competencies, draft sample evaluation questions, information on existing training, skills,
education, and other requirements for each group, and other information gathered during previous
July 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ Discuss and decide on key components of program guidelines
and procedures for ‘NHI Certification Plan for Forestry’. Post – meeting: participants draft brief
rollout plan for each user group using template/example provided.
August 2010 – Working Group Meeting ‐ Compile, review and revise pieces produced to date
(program guidelines, certification evaluation, training plan) in preparation for presentation of
complete ‘NHI Certification Plan for Forestry’ to Oversight Team.
August 2010– DNR staff estimate future data access and training‐associated costs for
groups/individuals based on findings from previous meetings and other information.
September 2010 – Oversight Team Meeting – Review draft ‘NHI Certification Plan for Forestry’ and
estimated costs; identify and discuss potential future funding mechanisms and impacts on forestry
groups; decision item: proceed or modify plans in consideration of estimated costs, expected
funding availability/mechanisms, and other factors.
Fall 2010 ‐ Broader review and revision of documents
Fall 2010– Working Group Meeting – Review & revise documents per comments received
Fall 2010 – DNR staff create training, forms, etc
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Early 2011: Anticipated rollout of 1st NHI Certification session (Forestry group may differ)
4. Identify forestry user groups, products, and current/desired methods for accessing NHI data
Brief conversation about the timing for WISFIRS. ER component unlikely to be ready for approx. 3 years.
In light of this, need to consider an ‘interim period data access method’. Carol will look into the WISFIRS
timeline, and let group know if it differs from 3 years.
User group Products produced using Current data access Interim Desired
detailed NHI data method data data
DNR foresters and ER screening of forest NHI Portal NHI WISFIRS
technicians1 practices ‐ ~90%, planning Portal (3 yrs)
( ~ 200) (MFL & forest stewardship
plans, master plans) – ~10%
CPWs ( ~ 90) ER screening/review of forest DNR foresters (Portal WISFIRS
(are also Cooperating practices (timber sales) ‐ printout)2 (3 yrs)
Foresters) ~50%, MFL plans ‐ ~50%
Cooperating Foresters ER screening/review of forest DNR foresters (Portal WISFIRS
( ~ 210) practices ‐ ~80%, forest printout)2 (3 yrs)
(a subset are CPWs) stewardship plans ‐ ~20%
County Forests ER screening/review of forest Majority: NHI Portal WISFIRS
( ~ 30) practices ‐ ~80%, county via formal NHI Data (3 yrs)
master plans/forestry plans ‐ License; A few
~20% counties receive data
from DNR liaison
Industrial Foresters Implementation of forest Primarily via DNR Open to
(many also Cooperating plans (i.e., wood foresters (Portal having
Foresters) – working on procurement) ‐ ~95%, printout) NHI
lands they do not own forestry plans ‐ ~5% Portal
Industrial Foresters Implementation of forest Several large NHI
(many also Cooperating plans (i.e., wood industrial forest Portal
Foresters) – working on procurement) ‐ ~95%, owners have formal
their own lands forestry plans ‐ ~5% NHI Data Licenses
Small Independent Forest practices (not formal No data access
Private Foresters – planning)
buyers (# unknown) 3
DNR forestry staff would like more guidance/info on what ER information they can/should include in
Per CPW, process currently works fine as long as you have several weeks lead time. Would like to see
data from the NHI Portal provided in a more standardized format (e.g., whether or not map and EO
detail are included).
Suggestion to reach small independent private foresters via the annual training for the sustainable
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