Dennis offers environmental, forestry, wildlife consulting services

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Taking advantage of his long career as a forester and environmentalist, including many years with International Paper Woodlands Division, Walter Dennis now offers services through his own consulting firm.

&uot;When I left IP, I got my real estate broker license. I had decided this was a wonderful place to live, and I wanted to stay,&uot; said Dennis, who works as an agent for the Natchez office of Century 21.

&uot;I hung my license at Century 21 and then incorporated my own business, Walter Dennis and Associates Inc., to work in forestry, wildlife and environmental management,&uot; he said.

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At Century 21, he sells real estate, preferring to help those buying or selling large parcels of land but handling any other kind of sale as he is needed.

As a consultant for his own firm, he assists forest landowners to make plans to enhance their property and keep them in compliance with regulations on wetlands, endangered species and forest management.

Dennis works with land set aside by owners for farming or for recreation. His service includes consultation on road building, site preparation, guidelines on timber sales, forest protection, streamside management, among other things.

&uot;Do they want hunting, fishing, bird watching, nature trails &045;&045; anything on the natural resources end? I can provide subcontractors with heavy equipment needed for hunting areas,&uot; Dennis said.

He can advise on timber harvesting, prescribed burning, controlled use of herbicides, planting food plots and long-term quality deer management.

Often landowners are not sure how to prepare a long-range management plan for their property, Dennis said. &uot;To keep land for long terms, they should have a plan. When they don’t, it’s like going on a trip without a road map.&uot;

Only one other consultant in the state does all the same things he can offer, Dennis said.

&uot;That is, there are only two of us who have the whole package, a service that provides wildlife biology, is registered and licensed in forestry and environmental concerns and is credentialed and experienced.&uot;

Some clients have their eyes on developing land for hunting. Others are oil companies who want to be sure they are in compliance with federal regulations.

With the popularity of hunting soaring in recent years, property for hunting is a hot item, he said. &uot;People are coming from Louisiana, the Delta area of Mississippi and as far away as Texas to buy the property,&uot; he said. &uot;They’ll pay fabulous prices for the property, and a lot of people are selling. But they are not offering the whole package.&uot;

The whole package will include a management plan of the kind Dennis can provide. &uot;You should be a certified wildlife biologist to advise people,&uot; he said.

Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a master’s degree in wildlife ecology and management. He worked a few years for the government forest service before joining International Paper.

While at IP, he attended numerous short courses for certification in environmental areas.

He is licensed to work in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama and has done work in all those areas.

He recently was appointed to a six-year term on the Mississippi Institute for Forestry Inventory, a board created in 2002 to analyze and publish data on the volume, quality, size and ownership of forest resources; and to provide support for new and existing forests.

&uot;No other state is yet doing what Mississippi is doing&uot; in this area, Dennis said. &uot;We’re number one in this.&uot;