The county forestry committee is authorized to sell merchantable timber designated in timber sale contracts and products removed in cultural or salvage cuttings. All timber sales shall be based on tree scale or on the scale, measure or count of the cut products; the Scribner Decimal C log rule shall be used in log scaling. All cuttings shall be limited to trees marked or designated for cutting by qualified personnel recognized as such by the department.
Any timber sale with an estimated value of $3,000 or more shall be by sealed bid or public sale after publication of a classified advertisement announcing the sale in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the timber to be sold is located. Any timber sale with an estimated value below $3,000 may be made without prior advertising. Any timber sale with an estimated value of $3,000 or more requires approval of the secretary.
Timber sales shall be subject to presale appraisals by qualified personnel recognized as such by the department to establish minimum sales value. Appraisal methods and procedures shall be approved by the department.
No merchantable wood products may be cut on any lands entered under this section unless a cutting notice on forms furnished by the department is filed with and approved by the department. Any unauthorized cutting shall render the county liable to the state in an amount equal to double the stumpage value of the cut products which amount shall be paid by the county to the state. If the county does not pay the amount of such penalty to the state, the department may withhold such amount from future state contributions to the county.
Within 90 days after completion of any cutting operation, including timber trespass, but not more than 2 years after filing the cutting notice, the county shall transmit to the department on forms furnished by the department, a report of merchantable wood products cut. The department may conduct any investigations on timber cutting operations that it considers to be advisable, including the holding of public hearings on the timber cutting operations, and may assess severance share payments accordingly.
Paragraph (b) 1.
does not apply to any sale of timber that has been damaged by fire, snow, hail, ice, insects, disease, or wind. Timber damaged in that manner that is located in a county forest may be sold by the county forestry committee for that county on such terms and in such manner as the committee determines is in the best interest of the county.
County forest credit.
The department shall set up an account for each county showing the lands entered; the sums previously paid under s. 28.14
, 1961 stats.; the sums hereafter paid under this section; the sums previously received in the form of four-fifths severance tax collected pursuant to s. 77.06 (5)
, 1961 stats.; the sums received as forestry fund severance share under this section; and the sums previously reimbursed to the state on withdrawn lands pursuant to s. 28.12 (4)
, 1961 stats. Whenever the forestry fund account of any county shows an overpayment of such severance tax or severance share as of June 30 of any year, the department shall return such overpayment to the county. All severance taxes previously paid by any county and deposited in the general fund shall be credited to the forestry fund account of the county. If such credit exceeds the balance due to the forestry fund account from such county, the overpayment shall be credited to the county and applied in lieu of future severance shares due to the state until the county account is balanced.
As soon after April 20 of each year as feasible, the department shall pay to each town treasurer 30 cents per acre, based on the acreage of such lands as of the preceding June 30, as a grant out of the appropriation made by s. 20.370 (5) (bv)
on each acre of county lands entered under this section. Beginning on July 10, 2021, the amount is 63 cents per acre.
A county having established and maintaining a county forest under this section is eligible to receive from the state from the appropriations under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
an annual payment as a noninterest bearing loan to be used for the purchase, development, preservation and maintenance of the county forest lands and the payment shall be credited to a county account to be known as the county forestry aid fund. A county board may, by a resolution adopted during the year and transmitted to the department by December 31, request to receive a payment of not more than 50 cents for each acre of land entered and designated as “county forest land". The department shall review the request and approve the request if the request is found to be consistent with the comprehensive county forest land use plan. If any lands purchased from the fund are sold, the county shall restore the purchase price to the county forestry aid fund. The department shall pay to the county the amount due to it on or before March 31 of each year, based on the acreage of the lands as of the preceding June 30. If the amounts in the appropriations under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
are not sufficient to pay all of the amounts approved by the department under this subdivision, the department shall pay eligible counties on a prorated basis.
The department may allot additional interest free forestry aid loans on a project basis to individual counties to permit the counties to undertake meritorious and economically productive forestry operations, including land acquisitions. These additional aids may not be used for the construction of recreational facilities or for fish and game management projects. Application shall be made in the manner and on forms prescribed by the department and specify the purpose for which the additional aids will be used. The department shall make an investigation as it deems necessary to satisfy itself that the project is feasible, desirable and consistent with the comprehensive plan. If the department so finds, it may make allotments in such amounts as it determines to be reasonable and proper and charge the allotments to the forestry fund account of the county. These allotments shall be credited by the county to the county forestry aid fund. After determining the loans as required under subd. 1.
, the department shall make the remainder of the amounts appropriated under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
for that fiscal year available for loans under this subdivision. The department shall also make loans under this subdivision from the appropriations under s. 20.370 (5) (bt)
All payments made under this paragraph shall be known as the “forestry fund account".
County forest severance share. 28.11(9)(a)
Except as provided under pars. (b)
, on timber cut from lands entered as “county forest lands" the county shall pay a severance share of not less than 20 percent of the actual stumpage sales value of the timber. A higher rate of payment may be applied when agreed upon by the department and the county. When cutting is done by the county and timber is not sold or is sold as cut forest products the severance share shall be 20 percent of the severance tax schedule in effect under s. 77.06 (2)
The severance share paid by a county to the state shall be credited to the forestry fund account of the county and shall be divided into 2 payments as follows:
An acreage loan severance share payment that is equal to the product of multiplying the amount of the severance share paid by the county by the percentage of the balance due in the forestry fund account of the county that is attributable to loans made under sub. (8) (b) 1.
A project loan severance share payment that is equal to the product of multiplying the amount of the severance share paid by the county by the percentage of the balance due that is attributable to loans made under sub. (8) (b) 2.
The acreage loan severance share payments shall be deposited in the conservation fund and credited to the appropriation under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
, and the project loan severance share payments shall be deposited in the conservation fund and credited to the appropriation under s. 20.370 (5) (bu)
Notwithstanding s. 20.001 (3) (c)
, if the sum of the unencumbered balances in the appropriations under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
exceeds $400,000 on June 30 of any fiscal year, the amount in excess of $400,000 shall lapse from the appropriation under s. 20.370 (5) (bq)
to the conservation fund, except as provided in subd. 2.
No severance share payment is required if there is no balance due in the forestry fund account of the county. A severance share payment shall not exceed the balance due in the forestry fund account of the county.
No severance share payment is required for wood removed from county forest lands for energy conservation projects established under sub. (3) (k)
Of the gross receipts from all timber sales on the county forests 10 percent shall be paid annually by the county to the towns having county forest lands on the basis of acreage of such lands in the towns.
The county board may by resolution adopted by not less than two-thirds of its membership make application to the department to withdraw lands entered under this section. The county board shall first refer the resolution to the county forestry committee, which shall consult with an authorized representative of the department in formulating its withdrawal proposal. The county board shall not take final action on the application until 90 days after referral of the application to the forestry committee or until the report of the forestry committee regarding the application has been filed with the board. The application shall include the land description, a statement of the reasons for withdrawal, and any restrictions or other conditions of use attached to the land proposed for withdrawal.
Upon the filing of an application to withdraw lands under subd. 1.
, the department shall investigate the application. During the course of its investigation the department shall make an examination of the character of the land, the volume of timber, improvements, and any other special values. In the case of withdrawal for the purpose of sale to any purchaser other than the state or a local unit of government, the department shall establish a minimum value on the lands to be withdrawn. In making its investigation the department shall give full weight and consideration to the purposes and principles set forth in sub. (1)
, and it shall also weigh and consider the benefits to the people of the state as a whole, as well as to the county, from the proposed use against the benefits accruing to the people of the state as a whole and to the county under the continued entry of the lands to be withdrawn. The department may conduct a public hearing on the application, if it considers it advisable, at a time and place that it determines, except that if the county requests a public hearing in writing, the department shall hold a public hearing.
If the department finds that the benefits after withdrawal of the lands described in the application under subd. 2.
outweigh the benefits under continued entry of the lands and that the lands will be put to a better and higher use, it shall make an order withdrawing the lands from entry; otherwise it shall deny the application.
If the application is denied, the county board may, by resolution adopted by not less than two-thirds of its membership, appeal to a review committee. The department shall submit the findings of its investigation and of any hearing on a proposed withdrawal to the committee, which shall be composed of the following members:
a. One member appointed by the county board submitting the application for withdrawal.
b. One member who is appointed by the governor, who is from another county that has land enrolled under the county forest law, and who shall be chairperson of the review committee.
c. One member appointed by the department.
d. One member appointed by the University of Wisconsin from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
e. One member to be selected by unanimous vote of the appointed members or, if the appointed members fail to achieve unanimity, by the governor.
The review committee appointed under subd. 4.
shall, by majority vote within 60 days after receiving the findings of the department, do one of the following:
a. Approve the application for withdrawal if it finds the proposed use to be of a greater benefit considering all losses and benefits to the people of the state as a whole, as well as to the people of the county.
b. Provisionally deny the application for withdrawal giving specific reasons why it finds the proposal deficient and making any suggestions for revising the application to reduce the conflict of the proposed use with the public interest.
If the committee approves a withdrawal under subd. 5.
, it shall notify the county board of its approval stating, as necessary, specific procedures to be followed by the county relating to the withdrawal. The county board may then by a resolution approved by not less than two-thirds of its membership, withdraw the lands from the county forest law and shall send copies of this resolution to the department and to the county register of deeds who shall record the resolution.
If the committee provisionally denies the proposed withdrawal under subd. 5.
, it may consider an amended application for withdrawal upon presentation of the application and supporting information, or it may require additional investigation of the amended application by the department before reconsidering the application. Any additional investigation shall include additional public hearings if requested by the county, the department, or the committee.
If the application is approved the county shall reimburse the state the amounts previously paid to the county pursuant to sub. (8) (b)
which reimbursement shall be credited to the county forestry fund account; except that the department may waive all or part of such reimbursement if it finds that the lands are withdrawn for a higher public use or that the amount of such reimbursement is unreasonable when compared to the value of the land. If the department has waived any portion of such reimbursement and if at any subsequent time the land ceases to be used for the purpose designated in the application for withdrawal, the full amount of reimbursement due the forestry fund account on the lands withdrawn shall immediately become due and payable to the department and shall be credited to the forestry fund account, unless the department finds and determines that the lands will continue to be put to another higher public use in which case payments of such reimbursement may be deferred by the department so long as the lands are devoted to a higher public use. If payment is not made prior to the time of the next forestry aid payment to the county, forestry aid payments in an amount to be determined by the department shall be withheld until the amount due the forestry fund account is reimbursed.
If at any time it appears to the department that the lands are not being managed in accordance with this section it shall so advise the county forestry committee and the county clerk. If the condition persists the department may proceed against the persons responsible for such noncompliance under s. 30.03 (4)
All orders of the department made under this section may be reviewed under ss. 227.52
A county forest withdrawal appeal review committee under sub. (11) (a) is not a state agency whose decisions are reviewable under ch. 227. Allen v. Juneau County, 98 Wis. 2d 103
, 295 N.W.2d 218
(Ct. App. 1980).
County boards cannot sell or exchange county forest lands without first withdrawing them from the county forest program under sub. (11). 66 Atty. Gen. 109.
Conservation easements and restrictive covenants are permissible in county forests as long as they are consistent with and do not interfere with the purposes of county forests and the management plans properly developed for them under the county forest law. OAG 08-10
National forests. 28.15(1)(a)
“Cooperative agreement" means an agreement between the secretary or the governor and the secretary of the federal department of agriculture under which the department is responsible for conducting forest management activities on federal land in this state.
“Forest management activities" means harvesting and selling timber, activities that promote artificial and natural forest regeneration, and other activities to restore or improve the health of forests and forest watersheds, including fish and wildlife habitat in those forests and watersheds.
As permitted by federal law, the department may conduct forest management activities on federal land under a cooperative agreement.
As permitted by federal law, the department may contract with a county, private forester, or private contractor for the purpose of conducting forest management activities on federal land under a cooperative agreement.
The department shall pay the initial costs of administering and implementing a cooperative agreement and any contracts entered into under sub. (3)
from the appropriation under s. 20.370 (2) (mv)
On June 30 of each fiscal year, 10 percent of the revenues received by the department in that fiscal year from the sale of timber from federal land under a cooperative agreement under this section shall lapse from the appropriation account under s. 20.370 (2) (cz)
to the conservation fund. These amounts shall be lapsed until the total amount lapsed equals $750,000.
History: 2015 a. 55
; 2017 a. 59
Any city, village, town or school district may acquire land, engage in forestry and appropriate funds for such purpose. The forest property may be located outside the city, village, town or school district limits.
History: 1985 a. 218
; 1993 a. 246
Any municipality, by registering its forest with the department, shall be eligible to receive free planting stock from the state forest nurseries and the services of foresters in preparing and carrying out planting and forest management plans. No trees shall be cut except those marked or designated for cutting by a state forester. Products of the forest may be devoted to public use.
Timber sales; community forests.
Any timber sale from a community forest shall be based on the scale, measure or count of the cut products. Any timber sale with an estimated value of $3,000 or more shall be by public sale after 2 publications of a classified advertisement announcing the sale in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the timber to be sold is located.
History: 1989 a. 79
; 1999 a. 9
All income from community forests shall be paid into the treasury, but may be assigned to the support of any legally authorized activity.
Parties to a violation. 28.99(1)(1)
Whoever is concerned in the commission of a violation of this chapter for which a forfeiture is imposed is a principal and may be charged with and convicted of the violation although he or she did not directly commit it and although the person who directly committed it has not been convicted of the violation.
A person is concerned in the commission of the violation if the person:
Aids and abets the commission of it; or
Is a party to a conspiracy with another to commit it or advises, hires or counsels or otherwise procures another to commit it.
History: 1975 c. 365