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USDA Forest Service Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) Agreement

GNA provides an opportunity for the state and others in the forestry community to work with the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) to help increase the level of accomplishments on the national forest and see the benefits of increased forest management.

General Information

For detailed timber program information, bidding, contracts, etc., please refer to the GNA Timber Sales Information page.

For detailed GNA program revenue information, please refer to the GNA Program Revenue page.

Through the Good Neighbor Authority agreement that Wisconsin first signed in fall 2015, the USDA Forest Service authorizes the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to perform necessary forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services on national forest land. A second agreement was later signed in spring 2020. Going forward, the plan for Wisconsin is to engage this work long-term and to continue to renew the agreement.

The focus of Wisconsin’s GNA program is to assist in the implementation of the CNNF forest plan, which provides:

  • Forest products to the local economy;
  • Collaboration between federal, state, and county forest managers; and
  • Improved health and resiliency of forestlands and watersheds within Wisconsin.

GNA works by either having the state do the work, sub-contracting with consultants, and/or providing sub-awards to counties. Revenue generated through timber sales pays for the work that the state and partners do. The agreement is for roughly 30 million board feet each year. All of the projects have gone through the federal NEPA process. Projects shift across the CNNF districts each year; sales include a variety of timber products.

Once sufficient timber revenue is generated (referred to as program revenue), this money is to be spent back on the CNNF on a variety of projects. Some projects funded to date include restoration for cold-water trout streams, writing silvicultural prescriptions, assessing aspen stand conditions, groundwater surveys and wildlife surveys.


The DNR prefers to work in partnership to accomplish GNA projects. We depend on counties and private consultants to share the workload. Six counties (Sawyer, Bayfield, Forest, Oconto, Langlade, and Florence) have signed agreements with the state and are contracting on timber sale establishment and administration. Private forestry consultants have contracted with us as well for timber marking, cruising, and establishment.

The GNA partnership is shedding light on how forest management is accomplished – partners see how each other practices forestry and this can inform new practices, techniques, or policies and procedures (e.g. scaled wood sale pilot being developed on CNNF due to GNA example).


Acoustic Bat Data
Acoustic bat data was collected by the Forest Service during the summer of 2019 and was provided to the Department for analysis. The files were analyzed by DNR staff and incorporated into an annual statewide acoustic driving report [PDF]. Data contribution by Forest Service to the Department has been critical to understanding the devastating effects of white-nose syndrome on bats, particularly in the northern third of the state. Additionally, acoustic bat monitoring remains one of the only viable, cost-effective, non-invasive and long-term options for monitoring migratory tree bat species in the Midwest. These data are invaluable to efforts like species status assessments as some bat species are considered for federal listing due to drastic changes in their population and range.
Groundwater and Geological Resource Inventory and Investigations
Pigeon Lake is a seepage lake near Drummond, WI that is currently at a record high. Following seven consecutive years of above-average precipitation, the lake recovered from a drought and rose about 18 feet to its current level. Roads, homes, and 100-year old trees were and still are flooded. The surface water and groundwater are being studied in the Pigeon Lake area to better understand the system. In 2020 8 water table wells were installed, soil samples were taken, groundwater and surface water elevations were measured, and historic lake levels were reconstructed using aerial photographs. Local landowners have been crucial to the process since they have provided access for fieldwork and are essential for helping to understand the lake’s history. Periodic email updates are sent to interested parties; for more information on this project, please reach out to the project leader, Anna Fehling.
The thick sands in the central Bayfield Peninsula are considered an important groundwater recharge area that ultimately supplies drinking water to people in Bayfield County. However, the remote location and a water table more than 200 ft below land surface pose challenges to studying the local hydrogeology. Two groundwater wells have been installed and the groundwater levels are currently being monitored to improve the understanding of this unique region.
Alvin Creek Culvert Replacement
From WisDOT: "Sharing costs with our partners, we were able to save an estimated $160,000 on the project. Alvin Creek is the headwaters of a system that provides cold-water refuge for trout associated with the Brule River. The new, low-maintenance culvert will have a long lifespan while restoring the habitat of this high-quality trout water. The WIS 70 resurfacing project in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is scheduled for completion by mid-August.”

Please contact us [PDF] to discuss your program revenue project ideas! Refer to our bidding information document [PDF] if you're interested in getting involved with GNA program revenue projects.