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Certified Plan Writer
Forest Stewardship Program - Information for Plan Writers

What is Michigan's Forest Stewardship program?

The Forest Stewardship Program is a cost-share program that helps landowners by providing financial and technical assistance on Michigan's non-industrial private forestlands. By providing cost share funds for land management planning, sound management practices are promoted that consider elements important to forest health and vigor: soil, water, wildlife, timber, wetland and other resources and resource values. Once a stewardship management plan is prepared, the landowner may then qualify for assistance in management implementation through other cost share programs (Qualified Forest, EQIP, etc). This program is designed to assist landowners with managing their forested properties.

As a local Forest Resource Consultant, you are a valued partner in this program. To continue and encourage this partnership, we will hold periodic Stewardship plan writer workshops that provide a forum for you to give input on your experience with the Forest Stewardship Program and state standards. We will also update you on any changes to the program, available funding and answer any questions you may have on procedures and requirements.

If you become a Certified Plan Writer through the Michigan DNR Forest Stewardship Program, you have the opportunity to be featured on a list of Certified Plan Writers posted on the DNR website and given to each landowner expressing interest in the program. This list is not an endorsement of any individual or group of contractors, but is a means to aid landowners who participate in the Forest Stewardship Program with hiring a contractor.

As you broaden your client base through Forest Stewardship contacts, we urge you to keep your eyes open for landowners that may benefit from this cost-share effort. As a valued partner, we will be happy to provide you with materials that you can give to interested landowners.

If you have questions or concerns regarding a particular project, or if you can not attend an information session and would still like to become a certified plan writer, please contact the DNR Service Forester for your area:

If you have financial, contractual, or general questions about the program, please call the DNR Stewardship Coordinator, Mike Smalligan, (517) 284-5884, smalliganm@michigan.gov.

Minimum qualifications to apply for and maintain your certification as a plan writer:

  1. Have a four-year degree in forestry or related natural resource field OR have a two-year degree in forestry or related natural resource field with approved experience.
  2. Maintain six hours of approved continuing education in natural resource management yearly and submit documentation to the Forest Stewardship Coordinator.
  3. Present yourself in a professional manner in both appearance and conduct, and provide service to your clients in a timely manner.

Getting Certified

  1. Send current resume to Forest Stewardship Coordinator
  2. Attend the initial six-hour training on the Michigan Forest Stewardship Program, offered annually through the Forest Stewardship Coordinator or as needed by your local service forester
  3. Submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding between the plan writer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forest Resources Division
  4. For each year AFTER the initial year, a Certified Plan Writer must obtain at least six hours of continuing education training during that fiscal year.

Applying for your Stewardship Plan Writing grant

  1. Get certified as a plan writer (see above).
  2. Once certified, complete the grant application - Form PR 4219-1 and return to the Forest Stewardship Coordinator.
  3. Complete and sign W-9 form and return to the Forest Stewardship Coordinator.
  4. Register on the Michigan State Vendor File to receive payments from the State using a Tax Identification number or Social Security number.
  5. Sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) - direct deposit of the above payments (required).

The Michigan Forest Stewardship Program has approximately $150,000 each fiscal year from the United States Forest Service for grants to plan writers. Grants expire each year when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Please submit completed Forest Stewardship Plans to the DNR Service Forester for review and approval prior to Sept. 15 to be guaranteed payment under your current fiscal year grant. Grants will not be extended into the next fiscal year.

Grant Resources

Stewardship Plan Resources

Other Resources

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