BEAR MANAGEMENT WORKSHOPS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold six public workshops in April and May to discuss management of black bears in the eastern portion of the Florida Panhandle and how people can get involved in working with the FWC on local bear issues. Workshops will offer the public a chance to provide input on local bear issues and allow interested individuals to sign up to be active members of the East Panhandle Bear Stakeholder Group. The meetings will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. local time at the following locations:
- May 13 – Perry, Forest Capital Hall, 204 Forest Park Dr.
- May 15 – Carrabelle, city of Carrabelle Auditorium, 1001 Gray Ave.
- May 20 – Port St. Joe. Gulf Coast State College, Gulf/Franklin Campus, 3800 Garrison Ave.
USDA EMERGENCY WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program addresses imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and other natural occurrences. Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or any Native American tribe or tribal organization.
Visit a local NRCS office or check the website for more information about the Emergency Management Protection program.
In Santa Rosa County contact Trent Mathews, 850-623-3229 x109;
Escambia County, Josh McElhaney, 850-587-5404 x105;
Okaloosa County, Darryl Williams, 850-682-3714 x109;
Walton County, Jason Hayford, 850-892-3712 x107;
Calhoun County Brian McGraw, 850-674-8271 x104;
Holmes County, Greg Nolan, 850-547-2916 x116;
Jackson County, Mary Jane Nelson, 850-526-2610 x127;
Gadsden County, Karyn Ruiz-Toro, 850-625-6355 x106;
Jefferson County, Stephen Tuller, 850-997-4058 x105.
USDA INVITES STATES TO PARTICIPATE IN MARKETING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of approximately $1 million in matching grant funds through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). AMS is requesting grant proposals from state departments of agriculture, state colleges and universities, and other appropriate state agencies. Funds will support research projects to address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally. Federal funds awarded must be matched dollar-for-dollar by non-federal funds and/or in-kind resources. Proposals that address issues of importance at the state, multi-state, or national level are encouraged, including projects that:
• Assess challenges and develop ways to assist local and regional producers in marketing agricultural products that meet the mandates of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
• Have the potential to create economic opportunity in rural communities through research relating to marketing in local and regional food systems, and value-added agriculture.
• Contribute to the strategy of a designated Promise Zone.
• Demonstrate sound methods for processing, packing, handling, transporting, storing, distributing, and marketing agricultural products.
• Determine the costs of marketing agricultural products in their various forms and through various channels.
• Assist in the development of marketing methods, practices and facilities to bring about more efficient and orderly marketing, and reduce the price spread between the producer and the consumer.
• Develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade and packaging in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices.
• Eliminate artificial barriers to the free movement of agricultural products in commercial channels.
• Foster new or expanded markets and new uses of agricultural products.
Applicants must submit proposals through the federal website www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 16, 2014. The request for applications, which describes details about the grant opportunity, including eligibility, application requirements and an outline of the review process, is available at www.ams.usda.gov/FSMIP, and is linked with the FSMIP opportunity posted on www.grants.gov.
A one-hour teleconference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 2 p.m. Eastern time to discuss the 2014 program and give potential applicants the opportunity to ask questions about the request for applications. If you are interested in participating, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org before the teleconference date to receive instructions.
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.
2014 SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE FORECAST
The results of the 2014 survey indicate that SPB populations are low at all but one trap location and suggest that the risk of widespread SPB infestations in the majority of the surveyed counties is low. Read the full report here.
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 email@example.com.
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