Federal and state agencies, including the USDA Forest Service, CAL FIRE and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, joined forces with UC Cooperative Extension and quickly mobilized resources to control the pathogen in Redwood Valley and halt its spread to neighboring forests. Local landowners have also played a key role.
“We’ve been closely monitoring the disease for years and anticipating a scenario like Redwood Valley, so we were ready to take action and respond quickly,” Valachovic said.
The UCCE staff leads an extensive sudden oak death monitoring program on the North Coast, and one of their detection strategies involves "leaf-baiting" in streams. Using this technique, they “bait” Phytophthora ramorum, the non-native pathogen that causes sudden oak death, by placing susceptible leaves in strategic locations in North Coast streams. If the leaf baits become infected with SOD, the scientists know that the pathogen is present in the watershed without having to comb the landscape for symptoms.
After they detected the pathogen in Redwood Creek, UCCE acted quickly to pinpoint the source of the waterborne spores, scouring the watershed for the very inconspicuous symptoms of SOD with the help and permission of public and private landowners. By November 2010, the scientists had narrowed the location to Redwood Valley, where they found dead tanoaks and several other infected host plants.
Much of the on-the-ground effort has been completed by contractors and CAL FIRE handcrews, who have created 100-meter buffers around infected trees by removing California bay laurel (pepperwood) and tanoak, the two hosts that most readily support P. ramorum spore production and spread. Infected plant material has been trucked offsite and donated to the nearby DG Fairhaven Power Company, piled and burned, or lopped and scattered onsite.
Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the USDA Forest Service and NRCS enabled the swift response in Redwood Valley. UCCE used ARRA funds, also known as federal stimulus funds, to hire four people to work on the project, lending stability to the effort.
Landowner support has been critical to the success of the project, according to Valachovic. More than 20 landowners in the valley have allowed monitoring and treatment activities on their properties, recognizing that their cooperation may keep the disease from spreading to other areas.
“We couldn’t just stand back and let the disease roll through the forests that we manage, and the landowners understood that,” said Dan Cohoon, who works for Eureka-based Able Forestry, which manages many of the private forestlands in the watershed.
Brandon LaPorte, manager of Cookson Ranch and one of the key landowner collaborators in Redwood Valley, has supported the project from the beginning. LaPorte explained, “We’ve learned a lot about the disease through this project, and we certainly don’t want it getting worse here on the ranch or spreading beyond the valley.”
The first phase of treatment is currently wrapping up, and UCCE is beginning to monitor project efficacy and watch for spread of the pathogen beyond project boundaries. The Yurok and Hoopa tribes will be paying close attention to this effort, as they are only a ridge away from the infestation.
Ron Reed, a Yurok tribal forester, commented, “Oaks are an important part of our culture and history, and we will do what we can to keep sudden oak death out of our forests.”
The Redwood Valley project highlights the value of stream monitoring as a detection tool for SOD, but it also demonstrates the ability of agencies and landowners to collaborate swiftly and effectively to protect the region’s forest resources. Maybe most important – regardless of the future course that sudden oak death takes in the North Coast – is what the project shows about the ability of proactive communities concerned about the health of their landscapes to come together, attract the support of state and national authorities, and work to make things better.
The community collaboration is being honored with the Two Chiefs’ Award. The award, which is given jointly by the NRCS and the Forest Service, highlights projects from across the country each year, recognizing exemplary partners who have worked collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship. Kathleen Merrigan, USDA deputy secretary, will present the award and Valachovic will accept the award on behalf of the federal, state, tribal and private partners involved the project at an event in Davis on Wednesday, May 16.
For more information about sudden oak death disease, visit the California Oak Mortality Task Force website at www.suddenoakdeath.org.
- Posted By: Brenda Dawson
- Written by: Pam Kan-Rice, (530) 754-3912, firstname.lastname@example.org and Tong Wu, (510) 643-5429, Tongwu@berkeley.edu
October 4, 2011
The University of California is hosting a two-part workshop series, “Ties to the Land,” to help forest landowners pass their land and its legacy on to the next generation.
The first workshop is being offered at 11 locations throughout California. All workshops will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Family forests create many benefits through their stewardship actions, but the legacy can fall prey to the confusing details of land titles, permits, and inheritance if families have not crafted a succession plan,” said Bill Stewart, UC Cooperative Extension forestry specialist and organizer of the series. “This is especially true for owners who do not live in the county where their forest is. Their heirs have probably spent little time on the land and the lack of shared goals can become a problem.”
During the first workshop, participants will learn the steps needed to plan for passing land along to their heirs. An important first step in this process is clarifying the current owners’ goals and values for their family forest or ranch. This allows landowners to start the discussion with heirs about their long-term vision for the property. Participants will also learn about the financial impacts of ownership transfers across generations.
This first round of identical workshops is being held before the holidays, to allow time for families to get together during the winter holidays and discuss their goals. Locations and dates for the first workshop are as follows:
- Nevada City, Tuesday, October 11
- Placerville, Monday, October 17
- Sonora, Wednesday, October 19
- Redding, Tuesday, October 25
- Yreka, Wednesday, October 26
- Quincy, Thursday, October 27
- Ukiah, Tuesday, November 8
- Garberville, Wednesday, November 9
- Eureka, Thursday, November 10
- Berkeley, Tuesday, November 15
- Rohnert Park, Wednesday, November 16
The second workshop will be held after the holidays and will cover the financial and legal approaches and tools such as trusts, limited liability companies, and easements used in succession planning as well as specific planning approaches used to manage land and resources. Dates and times of the second workshop will be announced later.
Registration for the workshop is $25 per family to cover costs of the family workbook and DVD. Multiple members of each family are encouraged to attend both workshops and can attend the workshop location nearest to them as the curriculum will be the same.
To register for the workshop or for more information on locations or the workshop series, please see the University of California Forest Research and Outreach website http://ucanr.org/tiestotheland.