According to a recent University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study, voters are likely to approve referenda for forest and water conservation in the eastern United States, including Florida, because demand for ecosystem protection is increasing. “Florida voters have approved far more referenda, compared to other states, and on average support more expensive conservation programs,” said Melissa Kreye, a post-doctoral researcher in the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation and a study author.
Read more at: http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2017/01/ufifas-study-voters-want-to-preserve-forests-water/
2016 TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS
Dr. Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, USDA Forest Service, has prepared her annual Timber Tax Tips publication. It and other related resources are available at the National Timber Tax website: http://www.timbertax.org/.
FUNDING HELPS FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS IMPROVE WORKING LANDS
Application Deadline February 3 for Conservation Stewardship Program
Agricultural producers can sign up for funding now until February 3 available through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Agricultural producers and forest landowners can earn incentive payments from CSP for expanding conservation activities on their land, such as cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat. CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new approaches such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality. The program also offers bundles, where a producer can select a suite of enhancements to implement and receive an even higher payment rate. All CSP contracts will have a minimum annual payment of $1,500.
Information about CSP, including national and state ranking questions and enhancement descriptions, is available on the national website or visit your local NRCS field office.
FUNDING HELPS RANCHERS CONSERVE FLORIDA PANTHER HABITAT
Ranchers in southwest Florida may be able to get paid for helping the Florida panther. To be eligible, a producer’s operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County—an area identified as essential for the long-term viability of the panther population. Federal, state and nonprofits have partnered to provide a suite of technical services and financial assistance to ranchers, from building fencing and treating invasive plants to compensating ranchers for loss of their cattle from panthers.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will coordinate assistance to ranchers available through the various agencies. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices through its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The signup deadline to apply for that program is Feb. 3, 2017.
To find out how to participate contact Jennifer Korn at FWC, 813-417-6165 or Erin Myers at USFWS, 239-657-8009. At NRCS in Hendry County contact District Conservationist Jim Sutter, (863) 674-5700, and in Collier County District Conservationist Bob Beck, 239-455-4100.
SIGN UP FOR AGRICULTURAL LAND EASEMENTS
The application deadline is February 24 for fiscal year 2017 funding.
NRCS provides financial assistance to partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland. Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.
Under the Agricultural Land component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.
Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, funding selections are typically made once a year. Visit your local NRCS office to find out how to apply or obtain the applications online. Contact Nina Bhattacharyya, (352) 338-9554 for information.
CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN DEER - FWC REQUESTS SAMPLES FROM HARVESTS
By Larry Perrin, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) requests your assistance with increased monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a fatal disease of white-tailed deer, and other ungulates (elk, moose, mule deer). It is not contagious to humans. CWD was originally discovered in Colorado in 1980 and now occurs in 24 other states; the closest to FL being TX and AR to the west and VA and WV to the north. Early detection is critical as this disease is extremely difficult to control, thus continuous monitoring is important.
FWC has been conducting CWD monitoring since 2001 with many of our samples coming from public wildlife management areas. We would now like to focus on obtaining samples from other public and private lands. It would be most beneficial if you would report any sick, injured, or dead deer (typically road-killed deer) to our CWD "hotline" at 866-293-9282. FWC will then make every effort to collect the necessary brain tissue and lymph nodes from these animals.
Also, if you, or any of your acquaintances, are deer hunters we would like to obtain samples from these animals as well. For hunter-killed bucks, the antlers and/or cape can be removed as normal without affecting the desired samples. If you are likely to harvest several deer (bucks or does) over the hunting season deer heads can be stored for 2 to 3 weeks if refrigerated and for an extended period if frozen.
The storage of heads from the same tract of land is beneficial as we can schedule a pickup that will be much more efficient than picking up individual deer heads. Again, you can call our hotline no. (866-293-9282) to arrange for pickups. If you harvest deer from more than one area specific location information is needed for each deer since if a sample tests positive for CWD it will be essential that its location be known so that appropriate measures can be taken.
Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
ONGOING SERVICES, INITIATIVES, PROGRAMS:
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 free Forest Health Diagnostic Forum: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/treehealth/forum/.
FOREST STEWARDSHIP VIDEOS - VIEW AND SHARE!
All the latest videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:
GOT AN INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM?
Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities.
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
Check the vast array of extension publications available through UF/IFAS on the EDIS publication site: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ Wow, there’s a publication about that?
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:
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