The division offers technical assistance to individuals, service organizations, non-profit groups, and communities. We also provide Urban & Community Forestry (U&CF) assistance for establishing tree boards, development of tree ordinances, organization of street tree inventories, organization of tree planting projects, and advice on the proper care of trees. We help identify and control insect or disease problems. We can also provide assistance in grant preparation and administration.
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Community Forest Initiative
The Community Forest Initiative focuses on providing the services of tree care professionals to South Dakota communities. By entering into an agreement with the division, participaing communities will gain the services of one of our urban foresters, all of whom are also International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists. These services are provided at no cost to the community. Division staff will work with city staff to determine management objectives and to develop the tools and information necessary to accomplish those goals.
Comprehensive Challenge Grant
The Resource Conservation & Forestry Division created the Comprehensive Challenge Grant to distribute a portion of the Urban and Community Forestry Program funds from the US Forest Service to communities within South Dakota. Through this program, communities are awarded grants to help with a specific forestry problem, along with promoting community forests and their importance. The grant must be matched by the community or organization that receives the award. Communities in South Dakota are challenged to increase their commitment to community trees and achieve a higher effort in conservation.
The Division provides training in all aspects of urban forestry and arboriculture (the care and maintenance of trees). Technical assistance is provided by service foresters located throughout the state. However, we concentrate our efforts on assisting communities with the development of local community forestry programs.
Local tree boards, which are a very important part of any community forestry program, provide the foundation for most of the community forestry programs in South Dakota. Tree boards, whether volunteer or paid, perform a wide variety of functions. They develop local tree ordinances, prepare annual work plans, provide planting, pruning, and removal projects, and coordinate local Arbor Day Arbor Day activities. At present time, there are 53 known tree boards across the state.
Street tree inventories, conducted by the state Resource Conservation & Forestry Division, assist communities in improving their urban forestry programs. The information gathered during inventories helps cities track how many trees they have, what condition they are in, the sizes of tree species found along the city streets, and other valuable technical information.
After inventories are complete, the communities can use the information to better manage their trees and make plans to improve the urban forest in their municipality. Properly managing and maintaining existing trees will improve safety and aesthetics. Shade and energy savings are also benefits of maintaining the trees.
Volunteer master gardeners, along with community volunteers, work with the state forestry division staff to complete the inventories. The data is maintained in each community and state forestry staff are available to provide technical assistance to maintain and improve the forest resources.
If you are interested in an inventory for your community, or if you would like to volunteer to assist with an inventory, contact the Urban & Community Forester with the S.D. Department of Agriculture, Division of Resource Conservation & Forestry, 523 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD, 57501 or 605.773.3623.