Governor Baker has issued new orders related to professional licensing that affect foresters and timber harvesters. You’ll be hearing from DCR on this, but here’s a quick summary:
For foresters, licenses that expire during the current State of Emergency (SOE) order are extended to 90 days after the end of the SOE. After the SOE ends, the Forester Licensing Board will meet to renew licenses within 45 days. While the licenses will thus be renewed late, they will carry the same expiration date next year as if they renewed on time – so a license expiring May 2 will not be renewed until later, but will still expire May 2, 2021.
The big problem for foresters is getting enough continuing education credits with most training events canceled. This concern has been recognized by the Governor, and as a result, continuing education requirements for forester licenses expiring in 2020 will be waived. Because licenses are annual but continuing education credits are on a three-year cycle (something we’ve been trying to change with legislation to make the license last three years as well), the lack of credits this year will spill into the future. The Forester Licensing Board recognizes this and will make a determination for continuing education requirements for licenses expiring in 2021 at some point before those licenses expire.
Timber harvester licenses expire on June 30 each year. Should the SOE extend past June 30, harvester licenses will be extended 90 days beyond the end of the SOE, and renewal notices will be sent by DCR within 30 days after the end of the SOE.
Timber harvesters normally must take 9 hours of continuing education over 3 years including 3 hours on the Chapter 132 and BMP requirements. Those requirements are normally met by attending a DCR 132 update workshop in May or June.
The Chapter 132 workshops for 2020 have been canceled because of the coronavirus. Similar to forester licenses, continuing education requirements for timber harvester licenses for the upcoming 7/1/20 – 6/30/21 licensing year will be waived – no matter when the SOE ends.
New timber harvesters and those regaining a license after having it lapse are required to take a license exam, but may engage in work under a provisional license from the time applying for a license until the next available exam is held. DCR plans to hold license exams within 60 days after the end of the SOE, and will post that information on its website when available.
One way for foresters and harvesters to get continuing education credits is to take part in forestry webinars as listed on the bottom of the Forest Alliance website homepage. Different webinars are offered on topics including Forest Health, land conservation, Forest Management, Building & Utilization, Biochar, Wildlife, Dealing with Climate change, etc. We update the listing every week so if you don’t find something of interest now, check back and see what new is offered each week.
We’ll continue to keep you apprised of how this public health emergency affects the world of forestry.
Stay safe out there!