Eastern Region News & Notes July 8 - 28, 2018



Shawnee National Forest

Press Releases



Hoosier National Forest

Press Releases



Hiawatha National Forest

Press Releases


Huron-Manistee National Forests

Press Releases


Urban Connections - Detroit

Delivering Benefits to the Public at 36th Annual Metro Detroit Youth Day [photo]

July 11, 2018, USDA Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) were two of many organizations supporting Metro Detroit Youth Day held on Belle Isle. Thousands of youth were able to participate in experiences like boxing, lacrosse and nature walks; learn about college programs and scholarships and even meet Ice Cube, who came out for the event.



Chippewa National Forest

Partnership Helps Control Invasives in Waterways in and around the Chippewa National Forest [photo]

Survey crews from Itasca County Soil and Water Division recently conducted an invasive species survey at West Winnie campground on Lake Winnibigoshish on the Chippewa National Forest. The survey crew was looking for starry stonewort, and quickly found the invasive macro-algae.

Starry stonewort has been known to be present at the site near the West Winnie boat landing. The crew wore waders as they walked through the cold water, reaching down to grab handfuls of the invasive species.

Starry stonewort was discovered in Minnesota in 2015 and is now found on ten lakes, including Winnibigoshish. It can be identified by the small starry bulbil found at the base of the plant. Clear, root-like filaments extend from the stars and anchor in to the lake bottom sediment. Starry stonewort can produce a thick mat at the water’s surface, interfering with recreation and outcompeting native aquatic plants, including wild rice.

The County Soil and Water Division partners with the Chippewa National to survey 100 lakes in Itasca County. The crew will revisit this West Winnie site a number of times during the summer, removing the starry stonewort. Eric Raitenen, fisheries biologist on the Deer River Ranger District, noted “We have worked with Itasca County to identify invasive species in area lakes for a few years.  It has been a great partnership”.

Crews were surprised to see so much starry stonewort this early in the season. The May 2018 survey also revealed zebra mussels and faucet snails at the site. 

People spread starry stonewort through watercraft and equipment. The small bulbils can be hidden in mud and debris and can stick to anchors, ropes and even footwear. A small bulbil can start a new invasion of starry stonewort on another lake. Minnesota law requires water recreationists to clean all watercraft of all aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.

Young Adults Help Preserve Historic Sites on the Chippewa National Forest [photo]

This summer, Sean Dunham, Chippewa National Forest’s Heritage Program Manager, will host two crews of six Northern Bedrock AmeriCorps members (ages 18-25).

The first crew completed maintenance and repair of the historic Shingobee Chalet in the Shingobee Recreation Area from May 30 to June 6. They worked with Forest Engineer Jay Smrekar on window restoration, exterior siding maintenance, and repairs to the Chalet. The project was financed in part by funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. 

In July, the second crew will work at the historic Joyce Estates near Deer River, Minnesota.

The Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps was established in 2011 to meet two converging needs: an aging stock of historic structures and landscapes in need of maintenance and repair, and a growing need to create a pathway for young adults into the preservation trades workforce. Northern Bedrock utilizes a corps model, and partners with historic preservation trade professionals to provide young adults with hands on experience and training. The AmeriCorps program works with young adults, 18-25 years old, from across the region. Members work at project sites across Minnesota and receive training in a variety of preservation areas over a six month field season. Northern Bedrock is a member of The Corps Network.

Press Releases


Urban Connections - Minneapolis/St. Paul

Urban Connections Participates in Successful 2nd Minnesota Bat Festival [photo 1, photo 2]

July 14, 2018, about 1,045 people attended the Minnesota Bat Festival. The festival aims to celebrate the unique role that bats play in our world and how citizens can get involved to help the environment for bats and other wildlife. The USDA Forest Service – Urban Connections hosted a table that featured a popular bat trivia prize wheel. Many agencies and organizations came together to successfully promote bat conservation and education.



Mark Twain National Forest

Press Releases


New Hampshire

White Mountain National Forest

Press Releases



Wayne National Forest

Press Releases



Allegheny National Forest

Press Releases



Green Mountain-Finger Lakes National Forest

Employees Step Up to Maintain Control of Non-Native Invasive Wild Chervil Infestations [photo 1, photo 2]

The Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests have been successfully battling the non-native invasive wild chervil for the past 10 years. This species establishes along roadsides and parking lot edges and spreads to nearby fields, ruining hay crops, spreading a virus to carrot crops, causing photo-dermatitis to unsuspecting handlers, and contributing to loss of biodiversity.

The primary means of controlling wild chervil is manual. Whole plants are hand-pulled just before they fruit and deposited on a massive covered, invasive species compost pile. In previous years, these control measures were primarily handled by Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crews, supervised by botany staff.

This year, less funds and fewer crews presented a potential issue in terms of maintaining control at infested sites.

Thanks to the passion and inventiveness of seasonal botanist Melissa Green, an all hands on deck Rochester Ranger District work day was organized that resulted in collection of 25 50-gallon bags of wild chervil. This helped maintain one of the largest infestation sites. Melissa was able to control smaller infestations herself.

This type of initiative led to control efforts at another infestation site at Grout Pond, a remote high elevation pond at a developed recreation site. During a visit to review proposed site improvements, staff members from botany, recreation and engineering pitched in to manually remove the wild chervil and minimize potential spread during development. An added benefit was that staff from other program areas are now trained to identify and control wild chervil at the site.

Though the effort will need to be repeated, the diligence of Green Mountain and Finger Lakes staff has helped keep infestations small enough to aim for eradication.


West Virginia

Monongahela National Forest

Press Releases



Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Press Releases


Urban Connections - Milwaukee

Bike Tour through Menomonee Valley – a National Model of Stewardship and Conservation – Kicks Off Latino Conservation Week [photo]

Saturday, July 14, Forest Service Resource Assistant Francisco Hernandez organized a historic bike tour with 5th graders from the United Community Center to kick-off Latino Conservation Week. The dozen students learned about transformation of the Menomonee Valley from a wild rice marsh used by Native Americans, to an industrial hub, to a national model of environmental stability. Latino Conservation Week is a nationwide initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation aimed to support encouraging the Latino community to get outdoors.

Francisco joined the Forest Service’s Urban Connections team in May through a partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation. As a Resource Assistant, he will work with Urban Connections program managers to reach out and engage Latino audiences with outdoor recreation and conservation messages.

Francisco is a Milwaukee native and a student at Marquette University studying History and Secondary Education. He previously worked with Urban Connections partners – the Urban Ecology Center and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center that inspired his love of the outdoors.