This week we recognize and celebrate prescribed fire as a versatile and effective habitat management tool. More prescribed fire means less wildfire. Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, to ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk. We are also thankful to live and work in a state that values fire as a management tool, and encourages its responsible use. The Florida Forest Service oversees the most extensive prescribed burning program in the United States, issuing an average of 85,000 prescribed burn authorizations each year and burning about 2.3 million acres of agricultural and natural lands!
HURRICANE RECOVERY ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH FLORIDA FARM BUREAU HURRICANE MICHAEL RELIEF FUND
Available through February 15, 2019
Many farm families in Northwest Florida have suffered unprecedented losses due to Hurricane Michael. As part of its response to the crisis, Florida Farm Bureau has created a fund that will help North Florida farm families recovering from the storm. Only North Florida producers with agriculture-related losses or expenses resulting from Hurricane Michael’s wind and flooding may qualify for assistance from the Hurricane Michael Relief Fund for Agriculture. However, the Fund for Agriculture is not limited to members of Florida Farm Bureau Federation.
Apply for assistance at FFBF Hurricane Michael Relief Fund
Hurricane Recovery Workshop: Taking the Next Steps to Salvage and Restoration of Forests and Natural Resources Impacted by Hurricane Michael (link), 9:00 am to 5:00 pm CST, Rivertown Community Church, 19359 Highway 71, Blountstown, FL 32424. Provided by Florida Tree Farm Program. Topics include available assistance, salvage options, tax implications, forest product markets, and more. A panel of experts from a wide array of expertise will be there to help answer your questions. This event is free and includes lunch. Register in advance so we can plan accordingly. See link above for details and contact UF/IFAS Calhoun Extension (850) 674-8323 to register.
Ben and Louann Williams have owned and managed their Wetland Preserve, LLC since 2008. This 3,725-acre property in Putnam County is composed of mesic flatwoods, bottomland forest, floodplain swamp, and sandhill. Along with their daughter, Ashley, they have made great strides in improving and conserving the forests and natural resources of the property. The family’s desire to better understand their land and increase scientific knowledge of wildlife is demonstrated by their gracious accommodation of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s research staff to conduct surveys for uncommon, threatened or endangered species on their property over the last several years, providing critical population and location data on declining species. In addition to hard work at the property, the family engages with the public through presentations to local schools and other groups and media interviews about land stewardship and conservation. In addition to all of these efforts and many others not mentioned here, the family has taken an active role in the formation and leadership of the North Florida Prescribed Burn Association. Join us for a tour of the property and meet these amazing landowners on Friday March 1, 2019. Mark your calendar. Details and registration to be posted on the Florida Land Steward calendar soon.
See more about the Williams' efforts and accomplishments on the
2019 Florida Land Steward of the Year Blog Post
Join us for the tour: register online at https://fsp-tour030119.eventbrite.com. Space is limited so register soon!
PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM WILDLAND RESTORATION INTERNATIONAL AND ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
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 the counties of Levy, Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, Hernando, Polk, Osceola, Manatee, Hardee, and Highlands. Landowners in these counties, with a NRCS contract that includes prescribed burning, are encouraged to contact Ryan Kennelly, WRI Fire Program Coordinator, (352) 373-0550, firstname.lastname@example.org
Attack-One is funded to assist landowners in peninsular counties not listed above, 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, Attack-One, (850) 926-6534, email@example.com
FOREST LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR LONGLEAF PINE PLANTING & MANAGEMENT
The Forest Landowners Association has cost-share funds for private forest landowners available through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Longleaf Stewardship Fund. These funds are intended to enhance longleaf ecosystems for wildlife while promoting and supporting working forests. Contact Lauren Ward, FLA Director of Stewardship Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about this opportunity. Funds will be awarded based on location of activity, number of acres being impacted, and overall demand.
UF/IFAS ANNOUNCES NEW EMPOWER U ADVOCACY TRAINING PROGRAM FOR NATURAL RESOURCES
This new training program is designed for anyone interested in natural resources to grow their skills and meaningfully engage decision-makers about issues they are concerned about, including (but not limited to): master naturalists, master gardeners, forest landowners, natural resource professionals, concerned citizens. Learn how to influence natural resource management decisions, grow your skills to meaningfully engage decision-makers, network with other people passionate to make a difference around natural resource management, and learn to see yourself as a resource to decision makers on natural resources management.
Empower U begins online: March 3rd - March 29th, 2019 (2 hours per week; at your own pace). Then attend an In-person workshop (8 hours), choose: Ocala, FL on Thursday, April 4th or Gainesville, FL on Saturday, April 6th.
Registration: $25, includes lunch and refreshments during in-person workshop. Limited to 24 participants per workshop, registration will close Feb 22nd, or when capacity is reached.
For more information and RSVP:
Ocala, April 4th: https://empoweru-ocala.eventbrite.com
Gainesville, April 6th: https://empoweru-gainesville.eventbrite.com
For more information contact Dr. Shelly Johnson, (352) 294-0757, email@example.com
INCOME TAX DEDUCTION ON TIMBER AND LANDSCAPE TREE LOSS FROM CASUALTY AND TIMBER TAX TIPS FOR THE 2018 TAX YEAR
Timber or landscape trees destroyed by a hurricane, tornado, fire or other disaster are "casualty losses" that may allow the property owners to take a deduction on their federal income tax returns. See https://timbertax.org/ for guidance on this as well as the annual timber tax tips for 2018 filing from USDA Forest Service tax specialist Linda Wang.
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE ANNOUNCES NEW 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
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:
- 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:
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:
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
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
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.