Municipal Models

City of Eau Claire Model
Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW), the City of Eau Claire (EC), and a focus group sponsored by the EC Chamber of Commerce, crafted a legal “Use Agreement” that serves as the conduit between the city’s logs and WUW’s sawmill and woodworker partners in the area.

In the EC model, WUW members are granted access to the city’s marshalling yard to recover and remove city logs. A WUW member is designated to be the city’s point of contact and this designee serves to gather, sort and deliver wood to other members of the organization for sawing, drying and use in their businesses. “The fact that round wood is taken off site and not processed is instrumental in reducing the city’s milling costs,” says City Forester, Todd Chwala.  The crews are an essential part of this arrangement. Ever-positive, they coordinate with the WUW point person to improve log cuts and sorting, and to help load the logs onto trucks when possible. The WUW-EC Use Agreement reduces disposal costs and the wood finds its way back into the community in beautiful ways (see News).

WUW/EC Use Agreement  Sample
The yard protocol can be found here.
Eau Claire Leader Telegram Article on WUW Partner using EC Ash

City of Stoughton Model

WUW proudly refers to this multi-organization model for recovery of urban wood as the “Stoughton Model.”  In this model the city forester takes a leading role in developing relationships with community members and organizations to recover and use wood from urban tree removals. Participants include someone who can saw and dry lumber, wood program directors; groups interested in selling the merchandise locally; and an industry partner willing to contribute time, expertise and start-up funds. The forester provides logs; the groups process, make and sell products made from the city trees; and in Stoughton’s case, industry provided funds to build their first portable solar-electric kiln. Money made from the wood is used to support the individual programs.

City of Stoughton’s Forester, Randy Nelson, works with the local high school wood shop teachers, the senior center, the local hardware store, and local industry to sustain its urban wood program. Nelson’s efforts garnered regional and national attention for recovering Stoughton’s trees to produce lumber, a system for urban wood education and outreach, and a community-based tree ethic.

City of Madison Parks Model

 

The City of Madison Parks Model (MP) works as a cost neutral trade between Madison Parks (Parks) and WUW partners. Parks provides the logs and WUW sawyers produce lumber for park benches, maintenance materials, and over time, finished conference tables. “Knowing the trees will live on makes us feel a lot better about having to take them down,” says Charlie Romines, Asst. Superintendent for Parks Operations “[C]utting the trees to preserve the log actually reduces fatigue and boosts morale for our crews.” The remainder of the wood from Park’s trees is kiln dried and available through local businesses. Many of the first logs removed under the MP quickly found a home in a local development featuring ash countertops.

“The adaptive reuse of urban wood allows us to be sure that EAB won’t have the last word when it comes to our ash trees. We think Madison residents will share our appreciation for this silver lining to the loss of our ash trees and other park trees,” says Eric Knepp, Parks Superintendent. The success of this arrangement ultimately lies in the hands of local residents. When residents buy local wood, they reduce transportation emissions, reduce waste, and make it possible for local businesses to stay involved in salvaging the wood from these trees.

A sample of the WUW-Madison Parks Proposal can be found here.

City of Greenfield Model

The City of Greenfield was once known as Cement City until forester Dennis Fermenich helped Greenfield become a leading Tree City USA. The Greenfield Model (GM) builds on that success. Also known as the “Container to Mill Model for Small Municipalities,”and based on the Milwaukee Model, the GM consists of three major players: the municipality, a container company, and a medium sized sawmill.

First, municipal tree crews are trained to removed trees in ways that preserve their wood whenever possible–experience shows that 20-30% of urban trees are eligible for sawing, the other 70-80% is used for pallets, mulch, biofuel, animal bedding, and firewood.

Once removed, all tree materials–minus stumps and brush–are placed in parked containers (aka dumpsters) and hauled to a local, medium sized saw mill for sorting into saw logs and other woody materials.  The containers cost around $300 each to park at the yard, then haul when full to the mill. In this model, all logs go to the mill–the good, the bad and the ugly. No “good log” should be kept for use by the city. Rather, the city and the sawmill can make arrangements for lumber made for the city’s use.

The sawlogs are processed at the sawmill. The remaining materials are distributed and sold to other local companies.  Sawn and dried lumber is then made available for purchase by citizens in the area and beyond.

In creating the GM, we worked with WUW partner, Kettle Moraine Hardwoods (KMH) because we needed  a sawmill big enough to both absorb large amounts of logs and retain the sourcing identity of each load. KMH owners are credited for their abilities to do both, and for their desire to be part of the urban wood movement in Wisconsin.

“We expect that the savings you will experience in processing costs will be greater than the trucking costs of sending the material to us,” says KMH. The whole cycle needs to work for every one.

The GM improves crew health and moral; reduces disposal costs; ensures that every tree will find its highest and best uses 100% of the time; and keeps local trees in the local economy. Preserving the trees as logs saves time and improves crew stamina. “The [crews] aren’t spent at the end of the day, and we can remove up to twice as many trees in the same amount of time.” says Fermenich. Saving time means saving money.

Milwaukee County Parks (MCP) piloted this model in late 2016. MCP routinely removed trees to preserve the wood prior to the pilot, so there was no savings or increase in benefits for their crews. Profit from direct log sales were slightly greater than savings from the piloted method. Reducing overall transportation of the wood is a goal of this project–a cost not factored into the log sales. MCP continues to look for additional ways to reduce transportation and increase availability to local sawmills.

The GM began as a project between Wisconsin Urban Wood and the City of Greenfield and was facilitated by a 2016 grant from the WIDNR Urban Forestry Division.

This document was funded in part by an urban forestry grant from the
State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Program as authorized under s. 23.097, Wis. Stat.
Milwaukee Model

The City of Milwaukee Forester, David Sivyer, was an early adopter in urban wood utilization. In 2013 he responded to local business efforts to preserve the highest and best uses of Milwaukee’s trees in ways that made budgetary sense. The participating businesses would eventually become charter members of WUW and their work with Sivyer became a cost effective urban wood recovery system. The Milwaukee model (MM) consists of three major players: the municipality, a container company, and a medium sized sawmill.

First, municipal tree crews are trained to removed trees in ways that preserve their wood whenever possible–experience shows that 20-30% of urban trees are eligible for sawing, the other 70-80% is used for pallets, mulch, biofuel, animal bedding, and firewood.

Once removed, all tree materials–minus stumps and brush–are placed in parked containers (aka dumpsters) and hauled to a local, medium sized saw mill for sorting into saw logs and other woody materials.

The sawmill processes the logs into lumber and distributes the remaining materials to other local companies.

Participating WUW sawmill, Kettle Moraine Hardwoods, is big enough to absorb large amounts of logs while retaining the sourcing identity of each load. KMH is distinct for its size and for the owners’ desire to be part of the urban wood movement in Wisconsin.

“We expect that the savings you will experience in processing costs will be greater than the trucking costs of sending the material to us,” says KMH. The whole cycle needs to work for every one.

The containers cost around $300 each to park at the yard, then haul when full to the mill. In this model, all logs go to the mill–the good, the bad and the ugly. No “good log” should be kept for use by the city. Rather, the city and the sawmill can make arrangements for lumber made for the city’s use. Sawn and dried lumber is then made available for purchase by citizens in the area and beyond.

The MM improves crew health and moral; reduces disposal costs; ensures that every tree will find its highest and best uses 100% of the time; and keeps local trees in the local economy. This model has recovered 100’s of thousands of board feet of lumber from Milwaukees trees and has saved the City 100’s of thousands of dollars since 2013.

Kenosha County Model

 

Kenosha County Parks had an ash population of over 5000 trees slated for removal due to the emerald ash borer. Removal bids ran into the millions of dollars and were estimated to take several months to execute.  The job was awarded to an experienced logger who bid $79,000 for the job using mechanized harvesting equipment. The estimated time for removal was 5 minutes per tree over the course of 1 month. Due to weather conditions, the project took two months to complete in all.  The work was done in the winter to preserve park and golf course surfaces. The trees yielded 100,000 board feet of lumber, bolts and pulpwood.

 


The project is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.