Thursday, August 15, 2019

FLORIDA LAND STEWARD UPDATE 8/16/19


USDA NRCS FORESTLAND CONSERVATION EASEMENT SIGNUP ANNOUNCED FOR COUNTIES IN THE OCALA TO OSCEOLA (O2O) CORRIDOR
Application Deadline is October 15, 2019

Landowners with forested lands in Columbia, Baker, Union, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Marion, and Lake counties can apply for conservation easements with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) by Oct. 15.

Conservation easements in these counties are within the Ocala to Osceola Conservation Corridor (O2O), 1.6-million acres of public and private lands that connect the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. Easements will protect these connector lands from development and provide habitat for Florida black bears and imperiled species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake and gopher tortoise.

NRCS awarded the O2O $3.56 million in 2018 through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, where a wide variety of partners apply to work on landscape-scale projects selected on a competitive basis. The North Florida Land Trust is the lead partner.

Landowners can learn more at two workshops that will cover the benefits and funding opportunities for conservation easements. Representatives from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Florida Land Trust and other conservation agencies will be available to answer questions and help with the application process.

Interested landowners should attend one of the scheduled USDA NRCS workshops to get more information: August 29 in Lake City or September 5 in Palatka. See the events calendar for details:
http://floridalandsteward.org/calendar.html


FUNDING AVAILABLE TO COVER CONSULTANT FOREST STEWARDSHIP MANAGEMENT PLAN PREPARATION
The Florida Forest Service has received funding to help cover the costs for private natural resource consultants to write Forest Stewardship plans covering hurricane resiliency and/or longleaf pine management. Eligible Stewardship plans must include information and recommendations related to: forest resilience and recovery following hurricanes, forest and landowner preparedness for hurricanes, and/or resources available to assist private forest landowners following hurricanes and/or longleaf pine establishment, restoration, improvement, and management for landowners with longleaf stands or those who want to establish longleaf pine on appropriate sites.

Compensation rates and additional information are provided in the Forest Stewardship Program Consultant Plan Preparation Agreement available at: https://forms.freshfromflorida.com/11268.pdf. This form also serves as the application for reimbursement. All applications that meet requirements as described above will be considered in the order in which they are received. Please contact Jennifer Tucker-Jenks at Jennifer.Tucker-Jenks@FreshFromFlorida.com or your county forester for more information. Find your county forester at https://www.freshfromflorida.com/CountyForester


PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM WILDLAND RESTORATION INTERNATIONAL, ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, TALL TIMBERS RESEARCH STATION, AND ALACHUA CONSERVATION TRUST
Wildland Restoration International (WRI) and Attack-One Fire Management Services are providing prescribed burn assistance to landowners participating in USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs. These organization has been awarded funding from the Endowment for Forestry and Communities to help landowners implement prescribed burning practices funded by the NRCS. Representatives from these organizations are available to meet onsite with landowners to discuss their goals and assist with prescribed burn prescription and implementation.

WRI is funded to assist landowners in all counties east and south of Hamilton, Columbia, Gilchrist, and Dixie, extending down through the whole peninsula, excluding Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. Landowners in these counties, with a NRCS contract that includes prescribed burning, are encouraged to contact Ryan Kennelly, WRI Fire Program Coordinator, ryan.kennelly@wildlandrestoration.org, (352) 373-0550

Attack-One Fire Management Services is funded to assist landowners in Suwanee, Lafayette, Taylor, Madison Counties, and west across the Panhandle, and throughout the state of Georgia. Attack-One can also assist landowners with current or former NRCS contracts if active gopher tortoise habitat is present. Contact Kevin Carter, kevin@attack-one.com, (850) 926-6534

Tall Timbers Research Station is now funded by a Longleaf Legacy Landscape project to provide fire consultation, planning, and implementation to private landowners in the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Lake City and in west Georgia as far north as the Chattahoochee Fall Line (Columbus, GA). Contact Matt Snider, msnider@talltimbers.org, (912) 704-5732.

Alachua Conservation Trust has a prescribed fire specialist available to assist private landowners with burn planning in Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Levy, Bradford, Clay and portions of Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, and Citrus Counties. Contact Barry Coulliette at act.barryc@gmail.com


FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE REQUIREMENTS FOR OPEN BURNING IN HURRICANE MICHAEL IMPACTED AREAS
Due to the massive amounts of tree debris on the ground throughout the area affected by Hurricane Michael, the FDACS Florida Forest Service has new requirements for open burning in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties. The Florida Forest Service created two geographical zones, primary and secondary, to identify hurricane-impacted areas with specific open burning requirements. Burning within the heavy impact zone will require pile burner certification. Details on the zones and requirements here.


ONGOING INITIATIVES / SERVICES / OPPORTUNTIES
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FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
Use this web tool to identify resources and assistance at a local watershed scale. The map is at this link: http://viewer.apps.pflcc.databasin.org/v1/index.html.





REPORT BOBWHITE QUAIL AND OTHER WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
To help restore the state’s northern bobwhite quail populations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking private landowners to report sightings of bobwhite quail on their land. Report northern bobwhite quail sightings at MyFWC.com/QuailSighting
The FWC also seeks reports of these species:

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 your 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:

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?

    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 offerings.


    NEED A LOAN TO FUND CONSERVATION PROJECTS? CHECK OUT THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S GUARANTEED CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAM
    The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) guarantees loans to promote conservation practices on farms and ranches that help protect natural resources. The goal of FSA’s Conservation Loan (CL) program is to provide access to credit for farmers who need and want to implement conservation measures on their land, but do not have the “up front” funds available to implement these practices. For more information see this Conservation Loan Program Fact Sheet. Also see this table summarizing FSA farm loan opportunities.

    The Conservation Contract Program is a program for eligible landowners that protects important natural resources and other sensitive areas while providing a debt management tool. A conservation contract is available to people with Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct loans secured by real estate. These individuals may qualify for a reduction of their FSA indebtedness in exchange for a conservation contract with a term of 50, 30 or 10 years. The conservation contract is a voluntary legal agreement that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on portions of the landowner’s property. Contracts may be established on marginal cropland and other environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, recreation and wildlife purposes. For more information see this Conservation Contract Program Fact Sheet.

    The FSA provides several types of farm loans. For more information on these opportunities, see the Florida FSA Website or contact your local FSA office to speak with a local representative.