Applications from Private Forest Landowners Will Be Accepted May 19-June 27
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program. The sign-up period will run from May 19-June 27 and is available for non-industrial private forest landowners.
“Longleaf pine forests once covered a vast range from Texas to Virginia but that has been greatly reduced,” said Commissioner Putnam. “With the help of private landowners across Florida, we can work together to restore the environmental benefits and natural beauty that come with this important natural resource.”
Longleaf pine forests are highly valued for their resistance to damage by insects, disease, wildfire and storms. They are also favored for their yield of high-quality wood products, biological diversity and scenic beauty. The goal of this program is to increase the acreage of healthy Longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem.
The Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Apalachicola River and counties adjacent to the Ocala or Osceola National Forests. (See a map of eligible counties.)
The program provides incentive payments for the following:
- Improving timber stand
- Controlling invasive species
- Conducting prescribed burning operations
- Planting Longleaf pine
- Establishing native plant understory
- Conducting mechanical underbrush treatments
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS TO INSTALL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS
Apply by July 18, 2014 for Gulf of Mexico Initiative
Farmers and ranchers in the Escambia River or Middle Suwannee River Area watersheds may be eligible for financial assistance to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on cropland, pastureland and forestland. The deadline is July 18 to sign up for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Gulf of Mexico Initiative.
In Florida, the initiative will make available more than $1.4 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) financial assistance funds in those two priority watersheds during fiscal year 2014.
“This effort to improve the health of the Gulf Coast region will benefit Florida citizens by producing cleaner water, more abundant wildlife and healthier fisheries,” said Russell Morgan, Florida state conservationist.
The priority watersheds include the Middle Suwannee River area in parts of Suwannee and Lafayette counties and the Escambia River in parts of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Landowners can view maps to see if their property lies within one of the announced watersheds.
- Installing grade-control structures to stabilize eroding gullies
- Implementing precision agriculture to reduce chemical application overlap and protect sensitive environmental areas
- Adopting residue and tillage management, cover crops and conservation crop rotations to reduce sheet and rill erosion and improve soil organic matter, which results in cleaner runoff and improved water quality
- Planting grass and trees to stabilize eroding areas
- Installing cross-fences and watering facilities to facilitate grazing distribution
- Controlling cattle access to streams to improve water quality and stream bank stability
- Planting and managing native plant species to improve wildlife habitat and assist with restoration of a multitude of declining species
- Promoting energy conservation by eliminating the need for annual mechanical removal of sediment from split ditches
- Implementing grazing management
- Installing heavy-use area protection pads
For more information about signing up for the initiative, contact your local NRCS office.
NEW FARM BILL PROGRAM PAYS FOR CONSERVATION EASEMENTS
Sign up for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program by June 6
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) that provides financial assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to establish conservation easements. The deadline for applications is June 6.
Two components comprise the program. Agricultural easements protect land devoted to food production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible. Wetland reserve easements restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
The ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs. Applications are available at local USDA Service Centers and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Agreements will be evaluated starting in late August. For more information on agricultural easements contact Nina Bhattacharyya, 352-338-9554. Contact Crenel Francis, 352-338-3508 for information about wetland easements.
TO CERTIFY OR NOT: FLORIDA TREE FARM PROGRAM NEEDS TO DECIDE
Something that sets the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) apart from all other private land stewardship programs is forest certification. ATFS Tree Farms are currently third party certified as sustainable (or “green”) and products can be sold as such at market. Florida, along with the other states are now being presented with a choice to make: to either stay in or opt out of ATFS Certification status depending on the importance we see in it. The Florida Tree Farm Committee will be required to make a formal declaration by December 31, 2015 of whether or not we want to continue as a state program of “third party certified” Tree Farms. The alternative is to revert to a “recognition” program that no longer has a “certification” status. As Tree Farmers, The Florida Tree Farm Committee would like your opinion of whether Florida should remain in a “certified” Tree Farm program, or drop the requirement for third party certification. Please reply with any comments you may have on this to Phil Gornicki, State Tree Farm Coordinator at 850-222-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONGOING SERVICES, INITIATIVES, PROGRAMS:
HELP STILL NEEDED - COYOTES VS BOBCATS: WHAT ARE THEY EATING?
The University of Florida is conducting a study of coyote dietary habits in Florida and needs YOU to donate your catch! We are especially interested in how coyotes are affecting white-tailed deer, turkeys, bobwhite quail, livestock, and pets! YOUR help is needed to obtain legally acquired coyote carcasses, with or without pelts. We will also accept coyote stomachs and intestines if you cannot store the whole carcass. Carcasses or stomachs and intestines should be frozen in a suitable bag or container, and include the name of contributor, animal weight/sex, date harvested/obtained, and location harvested/obtained. Arrangements can be made to get carcasses from you at the University or combine your animals with others in your area for a pickup. We have obtained a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for this project, and will keep information provided by you for this project anonymous to the extent possible by law. We greatly appreciate your help with this valuable study!
Lauren N. Watine & Bill Giuliano
SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES?
Do you have pests or a disease in your trees? Leaves or needles wilting, and you don’t know why? Sawdust falling out of your trees, and you don’t know how to save them? There is help: ask your question at the new Forest Health Diagnostic Forum: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/treehealth/forum/.
Run by forest health specialists at the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Department of Entomology and the Florida Forest Service, this is the fastest and the most accurate forest pest and disease diagnostics available in the State of Florida. It’s free, logging in is easy, and replies are prompt. We are also happy to examine your samples, or visit your site for a minimal fee. We are here to help you protect your trees!
"TIME TO THIN" VIDEO ON YOUTUBE
Not your usual instructional video - check it out! In just a little over two minutes, explains why thinning is important and how to get started, with a live link to more information. Check it out:
PUBLIC INVITED TO REVIEW FWC IMPERILED SPECIES ACTION PLANS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites your feedback on the Imperiled Species Management Plan, which will be the blueprint for conserving 60 species on Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species list. Be a part the process. See http://www.myfwc.com/Imperiled to learn more and participate.
FWC REQUESTS REPORTS OF WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:
- Report chipmunk sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/chipmunk/getlatlong.aspx
- Report panther sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/PantherSightings/getlatlong.aspx
- Report mink sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/mink/getlatlong.aspx
- Report black bear sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/fwri/blackbear/getlatlong.aspx
- Report southern hognose snake (Heterodon simus), short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata), and Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus) here:
FWC WILDLIFE LEGACY INITIATIVE NEWSLETTER
See the latest news at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/special-initiatives/fwli/news/winter-2014/
UF/IFAS SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION EXTENSION PROGRAMS
FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES WEBINARS
For a calendar of upcoming webinars in a variety of land management topics see:
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA CONTINUING FORESTRY EDUCATION CLASSES
See http://conted.warnell.uga.edu/ for the latest offerings.
ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FORESTRY WEBINARS