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TNC and USFS partner to plant 51,000 seedlings in Ottawa National Forest

TNC and USFS partner to plant 51,000 seedlings in Ottawa National Forest

The US Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy are partnering to plant 51,000 trees in the Ottawa National Forest. Last Friday, the USFS at the Ottawa National Forest and The Nature Conservancy announced that the partnership, with the help of contractors, has planted 51,000 native conifer seedlings across 170 acres of the eastern portion of the Ontonagon River watershed and the Perch River watershed near Kenton. The tree seedlings will help replace those that have been affected by the spruce budworm infestation.

Spruce budworms defoliate spruce and fir trees along streams, allowing more sunlight to warm the water and raising steelhead temperatures. Mindy Kantola, TNC’s forest partnership project manager, says restoring tree cover to streams in areas will help protect cold water vital to trout species. Since 2018, the project has continued through multiple agreements to diversify the forest cover of streams needed for both aquatic and terrestrial species.

Darla Menz, supervisor of the Ottawa National Forest, adds that the partnership has resulted in numerous projects that benefit the forest. This includes more than 1,500 acres of planting efforts, logging management, maintenance of recreational and wilderness trails, and boardwalk construction. TNC has identified and prioritized understory plantings of a mix of tree species, including red and white pine, white spruce, tamarack, hemlock, and cedar seedlings.