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Rhinelander-based Forest Service researchers receive more than $2 million of BIL funds for studies

Katie Thoresen
The USFS Northern Research Station in Rhinelander held an open house afterlaboratoryy upgrades.

Funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law [BIL] is still being distributed locally.

While much of it is going to things like highways, bridges, and broadband, $20 million was set aside for the U.S. Forest Service.

Specifically, that money is for scientific research on ecosystem restoration.

Locally, three researchers based at the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Rhinelander received funding for their projects.

Project Leader Deahn Donnerwright says scientists there are focused on landscape ecology and sustainability in the lake states.

“We look at the effects of all those disturbances, land use, recreation, pollution, how it affects the patterns on the landscape and the processes, how work might nitrogen cycle through. We look at those processes, and it's reciprocal, and then how those affect the landscape. If you think about that, that's kind of our unit, landscape ecology,” she said.

Together, researchers based in Rhinelander received more than $2 million in BIL funding.

The projects look at forest resiliency, pest control, and using trees to stabilize mining waste.

Donnerwright says the best part of the funding is it increases their opportunity to work across agencies.

it increases our opportunities to work with lots of different agencies and groups, local governments on issues and concerns that we that we all have. The Forest Service's concerned about EAB [Emerald Ash Borer], so is the state of Wisconsin, so is the state of Michigan, so are counties. These are very common issues. We can find common ground. We can broaden it. BIL is also going to give us the chance to do some local employment. We will be hiring some people and hopefully, that brings in even more people into our community,” said Donnerwright.

In total, 30 projects across the U.S. were selected to receive BIL funding under the ecosystem restoration category.

WXPR recently spoke with the three local researchers to receive funding.

You’ll be hearing from each of them over the next three weeks as part of WXPR’s The Stream.

You can listen to the first one on forest resiliency here.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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