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Trees salvaged prior to Menards construction

Jerry Stensing, a forester with the Bemidji Soil and Water Conservation District, marks a tree on the Menards construction site west of Bemidji. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Preconstruction salvage clearing will begin the end of this month at the new Menards site west of Bemidji.

Stewardship Forester Jerry Stensing of the Beltrami Soil and Water Conservation District began taking inventory and marking trees that will remain when loggers come in to harvest the 16 acres of woodlands behind the old Spaulding Motors building. This process was started in December 2006.

According to Stensing, 38 red pine trees, each more than 100 years old will remain. All the of non-marketable slash and debris will be stockpiled for bio-mass regeneration. Collecting the debris in piles and burning it was not an option.

"Located close to other businesses and the airport, we felt we needed to protect the air quality," said Stensing.

He said city of Bemidji has a significant tree replacement requirement for commercial construction. With the landscape design Menards did not have enough room to fulfill the requirement, so the city and Menards agreed to an offsite replacement for some of those trees. That agreement led to the development of the J.W. Smith Elementary School Minnesota Biomes project.

Stensing said Menards paid for the majority of the 161 trees for that project. In fact, many of those trees came from the 16-acre woodland site scheduled for development.

The preconstruction salvage harvest will be completed my March 1.

"This is an environmental- and resource-conscious project," said Stensing.

Menards has not announced a construction start date.