From the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station
During the spring of 2017, cone production data were collected from selected low-density stands of mature longleaf pine, throughout its native range. Binocular counts of green cones and unfertilized conelets were conducted on the crowns of sampled trees, as viewed from a single location on the ground. The regional cone crop is good for 2017, at 61.9 cones per tree. As usual, there is natural variation in cone production across the region. Bumper crops (> 100 cones per tree) were observed in Escambia County, Alabama, Santa Rosa Country, Florida, Baker County, Georgia and Chattahoochee County, Georgia. See the full report here.
USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY OFFERS WILDFIRE RECOVERY ASSISTANCE
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following wildfires or other qualifying natural disasters.
For more information on these programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster or contact your local FSA office. To find the local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov/.
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.
RESTORE LONGLEAF PINE FOREST, REESTABLISH QUAIL ON FLORIDA'S AG LANDS
Application Deadline is TODAY 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 TODAY 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.
FUNDING HELPS RANCHERS CONSERVE FLORIDA PANTHER HABITAT
Application deadline is June 16
Ranchers in southwest Florida may be able to get financial assistance for managing their property for wildlife, including the Florida panther. To be eligible, a producer’s operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County—an area identified as important for the long-term viability of the panther population. Federal, state and nonprofits are coordinating a suite of technical services and financial assistance to ranchers for practices such as building fencing and treating invasive plants.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is coordinating assistance to ranchers available through various agency programs. 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 is June 16.
To find out how to participate contact Luis Gonzales at FWC, 863-648-3826 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.
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:
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