|Cogongrass: an aggressive invader now dominating|
thousands of acres across the region.
Invasive species challenges are extremely costly both ecologically and economically statewide in Florida and across the country. Each year regional partnerships recognize National Invasive Species Awareness Week with a variety of activities to address invasive species problems at the local and regional scale. In Florida the Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) have many events planned throughout the week. Check out the Florida Invasive Species Partnership's web page for all the NISAW activities happening in Florida!
FEBRUARY 12 HURRICANE RECOVERY WORKSHOP BOOKLET AVAILABLE ONLINE
We had a great group of landowners and forestry / natural resource professionals attend the Hurricane Recovery Workshop last week in Blountstown - over 240 people. For those who were not able to attend or otherwise would like the materials provided at the event, a PDF of the workshop booklet is online: Hurricane Recovery Workshop Booklet (pdf link)
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES TAX DEDUCTION CONTINUED FROM 2008 FARM BILL
This provides a deduction for conservation expenses that is capped at 25% of the gross income from farming. Conservation expenses can only be deducted by those in the business of farming for profit. See the IRS “Farmer’s Tax Guide” for details. Further, conservation practices must be consistent with an approved Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation plan or a soil conservation plan from a comparable state agency. To qualify for this deduction, there must be endangered/threatened species in the area and the conservation actions must be approved in the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recovery plan. USFWS does not quantity the tax deduction; that is determined at the discretion of the landowner and ultimately the IRS. Direct all Farm Bill-related inquiries to the USDA Office of Communication at firstname.lastname@example.org
CONGRATULATIONS BEN AND LOUANN WILLIAMS, 2019 FLORIDA LAND STEWARDS OF THE YEAR!
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. Join us for a tour of the property and meet these amazing landowners on Friday March 1, 2019. $15 fee covers materials and lunch. Register online at https://fsp-tour030119.eventbrite.com
See more about the Williams' efforts and accomplishments on the
2019 Florida Land Steward of the Year Blog Post
WINTER-SPRING ISSUE OF THE QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
This issue's features: Congratulations Ben and Louann Williams: Florida Land Stewards of 2019, Landowner Enrollment in Florida's Wildlife Best Management Practices Continues to Grow, ACF Consultant Corner: A Consultant Looks at Michael through the Eyes of a Landowner, Timber Price Update, Certified Forest Stewards and Tree Farmers, Events Calendar
Access the current and back issues of the Quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter.
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, email@example.com
Attack-One 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, Attack-One, (850) 926-6534, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
FAMILY FORESTS BOOK AVAILABLE AT THE UF/IFAS BOOKSTORE
Get your copy of Family Forests – Portraits of Private Land Stewardship in Florida by Chris Demers, UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation. This full-color publication puts a face on private forest stewardship in our great state, and provides ample references and resources that can assist with land management efforts.
Now available at the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore online at:
ONGOING INITIATIVES / SERVICES / OPPORTUNTIES
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.
More about this effort and how to use the tool here.
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:
- 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.