As of this morning there are more than 120 wildfires burning on more than 130,000 acres across Florida and this season is just getting started. Please be careful out there with barbeques, campfires, fireworks, and anything else involving a flame. Needless to say, prescribed burning is largely on hold until we get some much-needed rains.
The latest information on wildfires is on the Florida Forest Service website at:
Drought and associated wildfire activity will likely result in tree stress and an increase in southern pine beetle infestations over the next few months. Keep a close eye on your pine stands and consult your forester if you suspect a forest health issue. The new Forest Health Diagnostic forum is also a good place to consult with forest health experts:
APRIL 2017 ISSUE OF SOUTHERN FIRE EXCHANGE'S FIRE LINES NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE
This issue of our bimonthly newsletter has the following articles sharing resources, news, and upcoming events from around the Southeast region and nationwide: Tools Designed for Managers in the Southeast: Use Them This Spring, SFE Survey: Help Us Help You, AFE Fire Congress: Proposal Reminder, Updated IFTDSS Is Now Available, New LANDFIRE Practitioners’ Guide, Longleaf Challenge: Boy Scouts Field Event in Florida, New SFE Fact Sheet: Prescribed Fire and Wildfire Risk Reduction, 2016 SFE Annual Report, Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge, Century of Wildland Fire Research: Videos Available, New Synthesis: Appalachian Fire History, Apply Now for 2017 AFE Certification.
Current and back issues of Fire Lines at: http://www.southernfireexchange.org/SFE_Publications/Newsletter.html
FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR COGONGRASS CONTROL ON PRIVATE LANDS WITHIN APALACHICOLA WATERSHED
Funding is available from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program for invasive species control within the Apalachicola River watershed. Cogongrass on private lands in Gadsden and Liberty counties is highest priority for treatment. This is a 60% cost share. Contact Brian Pelc, The Nature Conservancy, (727) 515-8313, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE NEW DIAGNOSTICS FORUM
Hosted by a group of forest and tree health specialists with Southeastern universities and agencies, we are here to help identify pests and diseases in your forest or you backyard, and to recommend a solution, if appropriate. Join the group and report your tree health issue!
Visit the new Forest Health Diagnostic forum on Facebook:
RESTORE LONGLEAF PINE FOREST, REESTABLISH QUAIL ON FLORIDA'S AG LANDS
Sign up for financial assistance by May 19
Agricultural producers in Florida have until May 19 to apply for financial assistance to restore longleaf pine and build habitat for northern bobwhite quail habitat. Landowners can apply through Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS helps landowners plant and manage longleaf forests through practices such as prescribed burning. Longleaf forests benefit both wildlife and land managers. Private landowners can get financial and technical assistance to restore and protect quail habitat in the following counties: Santa Rosa¸ Okaloosa, Walton, Jackson, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Columbia, Clay, Levy, Marion, Osceola, Baker, Citrus, Polk, Highlands, Manatee, Charlotte and Sarasota.
Contact your local USDA service center for more information. A NRCS district conservationist will help you develop a conservation plan customized to your land and assist you in the application process for financial assistance. Applications are accepted throughout the year, although funding selections are usually made once a year. Learn more about getting started with NRCS.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE HELPS AG PRODUCERS IMPROVE WATER QUALITY
Application Deadline is May 19
Agricultural producers in three watersheds can apply for financial assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) until May 19 to improve water quality in high-priority streams and rivers. The watersheds are Deep Creek and Clarks Creek on the Lower St. Johns River within Putnam and St. Johns counties and the Little Scurlock Creek Watershed on the Lower Choctawhatchee River within Jackson and Washington counties.
The National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) helps farmers and ranchers adopt conservation practices such as improving soil nutrient management, planting cover crops, using conservation cropping systems, establishing filter strips and monitoring water quality.
The contact for the Deep Creek and Clarks Creek watersheds is NRCS District Conservationist Lakeisha Barber, 386-328-2908, x3 and in Little Scurlock Creek contact District Conservationist MaryJane Nelson, 850-526-2610, x3. The first step is to develop a conservation plan with a NRCS specialist. Contact your local field office in Florida. Learn more about participating in conservation programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE RELEASES FIRE INFORMATION APP
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service have announced the release of “FLBurnTools,” a new mobile app to inform the public about drought, wildfire danger and wildfire activity. Prescribed burn practitioners can also use the app to plan and submit authorization requests.
ONGOING SERVICES, INITIATIVES, PROGRAMS:
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:
SOUTHERN REGION EXTENSION FORESTRY
See http://sref.info/ for the latest news, tools and offer