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Florida Land Steward Update, March 19, 2021

HURRICANE MICHAEL TIMBER RECOVERY BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM EXTENDED TO APRIL 30, 2021

Registration for the Florida Timber Recovery Block Grant Program  is available to forest landowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is managed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Florida Forest Service (FFS), which will provide technical assistance to forest landowners required to produce documentation to receive compensation for their loss. The registration deadline is EXTENDED TO APRIL 30, 2021. Make sure you register for this assistance if you lost timber in Hurricane Michael.

The direct link to the Block Grant web page is at FloridaDisaster.org/timber. Register there to begin the application process. For questions about the registration or application process call the FDEM hotline at 850-270-8317.

For more details and tips on the application process and other information see the UF/IFAS Timber Recovery Block Grant blog post.

Join us April 15, 2021 at 2 pm for a Hurricane Preparation and Recovery Webinar: Building a Resilient Operation.

USDA NRCS ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO REMOVE COGONGRASS INFESTATIONS IN WEST FLORIDA

Florida forest landowners in parts of Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties can apply for financial assistance to manage invasive Cogongrass until March 26 from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). See a map of the cogongrass removal priority area here.

Landowners will work with local NRCS staff and partners to apply targeted management practices on their land to meet the unique challenges in their areas. Project partners are NRCS, USDA Forest Service, Florida Forest Service, and Florida Department of Transportation. The partners will ensure treatment control is implemented across boundaries of public and private land, rights-of-way, and state lines. For more information contact Santa Rosa County Jay Field Office, Trent Mathews, 850-675-6696 X3 or Okaloosa County Crestview Field Office, Darryl Williams, 850-682-2416 X3

Funding available from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to treat cogongrass in central Panhandle region of Florida

If you have a cogongrass problem on property in Calhoun, Gadsden, or Liberty Counties The Nature Conservancy North Florida Program has funding for 120 total acres of cogongrass treatment in counties surrounding the Apalachicola National Forest. Private landowners in Calhoun, Gadsden, and Liberty Counties who would like to be considered for this funding should contact Brian Pelc, (850) 222-0199 x103, bpelc@tnc.org

What does cogongrass look like? See this identification guide for cogongrass.

SIGN UP FOR THE USDA’S CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM

The application deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is March 26 for fiscal year 2021. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline of March 26 to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding. For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center.

Large panther walking. Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

CSP Pays Ranchers in Southwest Florida to Help Panthers

Ranchers in Southwest Florida may be able to get paid for helping the Florida panther. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that improve its habitat through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The signup deadline is March 26.

This is a Regional Conservation Partnership Program  (RCPP) project. To be eligible, a producer’s operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County, areas identified as essential for the long-term viability of the panther population. Refer to the Panther Florida Panther RCPP page and map for details. For more Information in Collier County contact District Conservationist Derrick Wyle, 352-672-2630. In Hendry County Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700.

Mr. Jim Strickland, 2021 Florida Land Steward of the Year, receiving his Wildlife Habitat Recognition Program sign. Photo by Luis Gonzalez.

CONGRATULATIONS MR. JIM STRICKLAND: 2021 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD OF THE YEAR

A lifelong resident of Manatee County and sixth generation Floridian with over six decades of ranching experience, Mr. Jim Strickland has developed a strong land ethic and is passionate about preserving the working and wild lands of his home state. Jim is owner of Strickland Ranch and managing partner of Blackbeard’s Ranch, both located in Manatee County. It is for his work and accomplishments on Blackbeard’s Ranch that he is recognized with the 2021 Florida Land Steward of the Year Award. More about Mr. Jim Strickland and Blackbeard’s Ranch here.

2021-2025 AMERICAN TREE FARM SYSTEM (ATFS) STANDARDS OF SUSTAINABILITY

The new ATFS Standards of Sustainability will be fully adopted on January 1, 2022. Most of the changes in the new standards are minor and include clarification, guidance, and additional resources to help forest landowners. However, a change in Standard 4 adds the additional requirement of pesticide documentation to meet the requirements of forest certification. Herbicides are in the pesticide category. During the transitional period to the new Standards, if a landowner has not retained this information, they should work with their forester to develop records based on the information they have available (i.e., firsthand knowledge of what, when, why a pesticide was applied). Read the latest on the 2021-2025 American Tree Farm Standards of Sustainability here: https://www.treefarmsystem.org/standards-review

If you have questions regarding Tree Farm certification, please contact your local Tree Farm Inspector. Find your Florida Tree Farm Program District Representative at: https://www.treefarmsystem.org/about-fl.

For guidance on pesticide recordkeeping join us April 21, 2021 at 3:30 pm ET for a webinar on Pesticide Recordkeeping. Details and registration here.

LANDOWNER SURVEY ON FORESTRY COSTS & TRENDS – PLEASE PARTICIPATE IF YOU CAN

The Alabama Cooperative Extension has launched a survey for forest landowners in the southern states (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA) to better understand the cost of current forestry practices and how management practices have changed. Results from this survey will be shared in a publication and will help to shape the way forestry practices are presented to stakeholders and influence policy decisions that affect landowners. The questionnaire will take about 45 minutes, but individuals can skip certain sections if they are not applicable to their forestland. To take the survey, click here. For questions about the survey, contact Dr. Adam Maggard, adam0074@auburn.edu. The survey will end March 31, 2021.

summer burn in flatwoods, June 2020PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, TALL TIMBERS RESEARCH STATION, AND ALACHUA CONSERVATION TRUST

These organizations are available to meet onsite with landowners to discuss their goals and assist with prescribed burn prescription and implementation.

Attack-One Fire Management Services is grant-funded to assist landowners with current NRCS contracts with prescribed fire planning and implementation throughout Florida and Georgia. We can also assist landowners who have former NRCS contracts with prescribed fire consultation, planning and implementation with active Gopher Tortoise habitat present. For more information email Kevin Carter, kevin@attack-one.com or call (850) 926-6534

Tall Timbers Research Station is 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 Jeremiah Cates, jcates@talltimbers.org, (850) 381-8707. Also see their web page for more details: Private Lands Prescribed Fire Project – Tall Timbers

Alachua Conservation Trust has a prescribed fire specialist available to assist private landowners with burn planning, including that associated with NRCS contacts, 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, 904-838-8591. Barry is also the Coordinator for the North Florida Prescribed Burn Association

2021 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD WALL CALENDARS STILL AVAILABLE

We still have some 2021 Florida Land Steward calendars available. Request your copy while supplies last. The annual Florida Land Steward calendar features beautiful photography, habitat management tips, landowner and management highlights, resource contacts, and more. Request your calendar by sending an email to cdemers@ufl.edu with your mailing address.

GET FLORIDA LAND STEWARD EMAIL UPDATES

Don’t miss out on news and events! Sign up for the regular email updates! Send an email to Chris at cdemers@ufl.edu to be added to the email listserv. Florida Land Steward email updates are sent once a week or every other week and include the latest calendar of workshops, tours and other events; a link to the current issue of this quarterly newsletter; updates on cost-share and other assistance programs, opportunities, and resources; and other stewardship related news and information.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND WEBINARS

See our Events Calendar and News page for upcoming events, webinars, webinar and event materials, and the latest news on assistance programs and other opportunities and information.

ACCESS THE QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER ONLINE

Access the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter here.

HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?

Drop a line with the details and link(s) to Chris Demers at cdemers@ufl.edu.

Florida Land Steward Program LogoCONSIDER A GIFT IN SUPPORT OF THE UF/IFAS FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PROGRAM

The mission of the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program is to help and encourage private landowners to actively manage their land resources for long-term environmental, economic, and social benefits. This program is largely supported by partners and donors. If this program has made a difference in your land stewardship efforts please consider a gift. Support the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program here. Thanks!