2021 Annual Report

2021 Annual Report Saturday, January 1, 2022

Author(s): Ben Bohall

Thank you to our partners for all their support as we tackle the daunting challenges facing trees and forests. We are making excellent progress—the successes are many and some are shared in this annual report. But much more needs to be done if we are to adequately protect trees and forests, the benefits they provide, and lives and property statewide. We look forward to working with you even more closely in 2022 to truly make a difference here in Nebraska.

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Introduction

Closeup photo of John Erixson smiling
State Forester and Director, John Erixson.

Creating jobs and fostering rural development. Protecting life and property. Enhancing the health and vitality of our trees and forests. Creating a cleaner, more beautiful environment makes the Good Life even better. With a practical, can-do, hands-on approach, that is what the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) and our many partners work to accomplish every day. In 2021, we witnessed another significant wildfire season. As these disasters become more prevalent, they serve as a reminder of the necessity for adequate resources and training to protect Nebraska communities and lives. Thanks to appropriate funding through legislation, like the Wildfire Control Act, the NFS continues to provide essential firefighter training; repurposed military equipment to volunteer fire departments across the state; and extended Single Engine Air Tanker bases and air support to Nebraska and its neighboring states. Our forest health specialists and community foresters are on the front line in identifying invasive threats to our trees—like the emerald ash borer—and advising Nebraska communities on cost-saving options and grant funding opportunities to replace lost green infrastructure. As we continue to address the unique challenges that exist with trees and forests, we must also maintain the focus of providing more services to the people of Nebraska. In 2021, the NFS has solidified this commitment through many core initiatives:

  • improving the capacity of hundreds of volunteer fire districts statewide to respond to wildland fires safely, rapidly, and effectively
  • thinning thousands of acres of forests to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildland fire to communities statewide
  • helping to develop new markets and uses for our largely unused forest resources, creating jobs, and new opportunities
  • working with community groups to plant thousands of trees, cleaning the air and water, saving energy, and making our cities and towns better places to live and work
  • advising cities and towns across the state, dealing with the scourge of emerald ash borer while working to create healthier trees and forests

It is impacts like these that the NFS and our many partners strive to accomplish. I hope you will enjoy reading about the issues facing our tree and forest resources, and how the NFS and our partners are responding to those challenges.

2021 Accomplishments

Informational graphic about NFS accomplishments
The NFS offers cost-share funding, education, training, and planning resources to enhance the state's trees, communities, and quality of life for residents statewide.

The Nebraska Forest Service pursues a variety of traditional and nontraditional funding sources to facilitate the agency’s reach across Nebraska. Through grant funding and leveraging its role within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we are able to enrich the lives of Nebraskans by increasing the value, condition, and use of the state’s trees and forests.

Credits

Editor: Benjamin C. Bohall

Contributors: Sandy Benson, Pam Bergstrom, Kyle Bogus, Heather Borck, Aaron Clare, John Erixson, Graham Herbst, Jack Hilgert, Matt Holte, Christina Hoyt, Darla Huff, Steven Jara, Heather Kingery, Chrissy Land, Fred McCartney, Eric Moul, Justin Nickless, David Olson, Seth Petersen, Hanna Pinneo, Lew Sieber, Adam Smith, Jorden Smith, Laurie Stepanek, Denise Wally, Lola Young

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