Success Story: Biomass Utilization and Restoration Network Wins "Two Chiefs Award"

Hiawatha and BURN-UP partners aim for sustainable biomass innovation in Michigan's U.P.

On December 8,2008, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Associate Chief Dana York and Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins announced that the Biomass Utilization and Restoration Network of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (BURN-UP) was one of four groups to receive the 2008 Two Chiefs' Partnership Award. This Award recognizes exemplary employees and projects from the Forest Service, NRCS, State Forestry Agencies, and Conservation Districts who have worked collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship. 

The BURN-UP project promotes production of energy from woody biomass, advancing opportunities to facilitate the development of an active, commercially viable woody biomass industry in the Upper Peninsula (UP) Numerous partners are involved, including:

*U. S. Forest Service (Hiawatha National Forest),

*NRCS, Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation & Development Council,

*Marquette County Conservation District,

*Michigan Department of Natural Resources,

*Michigan State University Extension,

*The Forestland Group LLC, US Fish and Wildlife Service (Seney National

Wildlife Refuge,

*Marquette and Mackinac Counties,

*Nelson Logging,

*North Dickinson School District,

*Michigan Technological University,

*The Nature Conservancy, and

*Suchovsky Logging, LLC.

BURN-UP partners are collaborating on a multi-faceted woody biomass utilization project for Michigan's UP. Michigan forests are being impacted by development, increased recreational use, and invasive insects, diseases, and plants. Forest stand improvement, hazard fuel reduction, forest health treatments, and other non-commercial activities are necessary for the long term health and sustainability of forest ecosystems. The use of woody biomass offers opportunities to decrease cost of needed forest treatements while also being more profitable.

Activities that are being conducted through the BURN-UP partnership include: providing technical assistance to schools and other institutions that are interested in converting their heating systems to utilize woody biomass as fuel; setting up demonstration sites on different forest types to provide education on sustainable methods of biomass harvest; working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Management Advisory Committee to create guidelines for sustainable forest management for harvesting woody biomass; and creating an on-line woody biomass information clearinghouse, including soil ratings and limitations on specific sites.

The BURN-UP project capitalizes on efforts that promote economic stability and healthy forests through natural resources management. It also paves the way for private landowners to harvest woody biomass, establish biomass plantings, and reclaim and better utilize abandoned lands in Michigan's UP.

The award was presented to the BURN-UP Team at a ceremony held April 17th in Marquette.