WORKING FORESTS WEEK - OCTOBER 16-20
This week is recognized across Florida as Working Forests Week. Throughout the state folks involved with forest management and the timber industry are reaching out to citizens, students, teachers, and others to broaden their awareness of the importance of trees and forests, and how they provide us with shelter, food, fiber, wildlife habitat, clean water, beautiful landscapes, shade, and hundreds of things we use every day. Hats off to the forest managers and landowners that do their part in growing and managing forests for all of these benefits. We need trees and forests.
HURRICANE DAMAGE TO TIMBER STANDS? SIGN UP FOR EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION ASSISTANCE FROM THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) that provides disaster assistance for private non-industrial forest landowners who have incurred damage to their existing forest stands by natural disasters, including Hurricane Irma. Funding may be provided at a rate of up to 75% of the cost to implement forest restoration practices as determined by FSA county committees.
Landowners who may be interested in this assistance are encouraged to contact their local FSA office as soon as possible for additional information and to sign up for this assistance as the enrollment period is typically open for 60 days after a qualifying event. Program details at: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/emergency-forest-restoration/index
Check with your local FSA office to find out about EFRP sign-up periods.
HURRICANE DAMAGE TO PROPERTY? USDA NRCS EMERGENCY WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM CAN HELP
If your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect destabilized stream banks and establish cover on critically eroding lands and purchase flood plain easements.
The public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.
The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance from a local NRCS office. Staff visit the site and determine eligibility based on damage, property protected, environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. If Congress appropriates funds, the sponsor enters into a cooperative agreement to complete the work.
FARM AID PARTNERING WITH FLORIDA ORGANIC GROWERS TO ASSIST FARMERS IN NEED AFTER RECENT HURRICANES
Family farmers in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands can now access much-needed relief funding following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Farm Aid has partnered with FOG to distribute emergency relief grants to help farmers meet household expenses. You do not need to be an organic farm to be eligible. For more information see:
ASSISTANCE HELPS FARMERS, RANCHERS, AND FOREST OWNERS TO CONSERVE NATURAL RESOURCES
Application deadline for financial assistance November 17
Florida farmers, ranchers and forest owners can apply until Nov. 17 for financial and technical assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for fiscal year 2018 funding. Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis for all programs, funding selections are typically made once a year.
Through EQIP, agricultural landowners may receive financial and technical assistance to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals and related resources. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland and other farm or ranch lands. The application deadline also applies to the following EQIP-funded initiatives: Organic Producer Initiative, Seasonal High Tunnels, Energy Initiative, Pollinator Initiative, Everglades Initiative, Longleaf Pine Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative, Working Lands for Wildlife, Gulf of Mexico Initiative, and Strikeforce.
It all starts with a plan. Call or visit your local NRCS field office and request help in developing a conservation plan. To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, go to Getting Started with NRCS.
RESOURCES FOR STORM DAMAGE RECOVERY The ProForest team has compiled a list of resources for storm damage preparedness and recovery. We hope these resources are useful for forest landowners and managers in the aftermath of Irma and to be prepared for future events:
FLORIDA PRESCRIBED FIRE COUNCIL MEETINGS COMING UP (link to more information)
- Central Florida PFC, rescheduled to November 13, 2017, Osceola Heritage Center, Kissimmee, FL, Meeting Registration
- South Florida Fire PFC, October 24, 2017, Palm Beach County Vista Center – West Palm Beach, FL. Details to be posted at Florida Forest Service link above.
- North Florida PFC, October 25, 2017, Theater Tallahassee, Tallahassee, FL. Details to be posted at Florida Forest Service link above.
FLORIDA LAND STEWARD CALENDAR OF EVENTS
AIR POTATO PATROL CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT
A new on-line Citizen Science project is looking for volunteers at https://airpotatobeetle.com/. This collaborative project between University of Florida IFAS Extension and Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services seeks to educate residents on how to identify and better control air potato vines, and to gather data important to current research and air potato leaf beetle tracking. The website contains educational videos and a blog to educate the participants and keep them updated. Volunteers will be asked to complete surveys to evaluate the level of air potato infestation and the presence of the air potato beetles in their test plots. For more information please visit the website or contact William Lester, UF/IFAS Extension, at 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:
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