Vol. 6, no. 2 is online and headed for mailboxes soon. In this issue: Forestry Wildlife Best Management Practices for State Imperiled Species: Enrollment Grows to Over 3 Million Acres, Wildlife-Friendly Fence Tips, Research Report: Economic Impact of Cogongrass on Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners in Florida, ACF Consultants Corner: What's in a Title?, Timber Price Update, Certified Forest Stewards and Tree Farmers, Events Calendar. Current and back issues of the Florida Land Steward are at:
2017 FLORIDA SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE FORCAST
Florida Forest Service, Forest Health Section
A pheromone trap survey was conducted in March 2017 as part of an ongoing program to monitor the populations of Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) and its associated predators. The purpose is to provide an early-season prediction of the potential level of SPB activity in select Florida counties, and identify areas which may be at increased risk for an outbreak. The results of the 2017 survey indicate that SPB populations levels are high and increasing in many counties in the Northeastern part of the State. See the full Florida SPB Report here.
AG PRODUCERS CAN EXTEND EXPIRING CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM CONTRACTS
Last day to sign - May 5
Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young announced that a contract renewal sign-up is underway for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 80 million acres enrolled nationally. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) made several updates to the program last fall. These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands. Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire Dec. 31 can take advantage of the recent program changes by renewing their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional conservation activities. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by May 5.
Through CSP agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat and soil health building activities, while maintaining agricultural production on their land. Benefits to producers can include improved cattle gains per acre, increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife population improvements and better resilience to weather extremes.
Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or contact your local field office in Florida.
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
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.
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