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September, 2011

Irene Keeps Chainsaw Crews Busy

Dennis Gaston was one of many VDOF employees working to clear roads following Hurricane Irene.High winds and rain from Hurricane Irene took a significant toll on Virginia. As trees fell in the eastern section of the state, chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) were out in force. Approximately fifty personnel removed more than 2,800 downed trees and debris from more than 800 miles of interstate, primary and secondary roads in 11 counties. Additional personnel supported and directed the efforts of these crews.

VDOF conducted an aerial timber damage assessment for counties south and east of Richmond. This effort utilized the agency’s plane, pilot and two aerial observers. Preliminary estimates of timber-related damage are expected in early September.

The City of Norfolk requested the assistance of the VDOF’s Urban Forest Strike Team to provide hazard tree assessments around all of the Norfolk school system properties. Seven employees have been assigned to provide this assessment.

At the storm’s peak, power outages affected 2.5 million Virginians, the second-highest level in Virginia history and second only to Hurricane Isabel in 2003. About 6,000 workers were engaged in power restoration efforts in Virginia.

Initial damage reports showed that 53 properties – that is, homes, apartment buildings and other structures – were destroyed and 541 sustained major damage. More than 9,200 structures sustained minor damage. Statewide, more than 138 state-maintained roads were closed, including five primary roads.

New Wildfire Prevention Website

Designed to educate students in grades four through six, virginiawildfireprevention.com uses online activities to help students learn about the good and bad effects of fire.Interactive games and videos allow students to learn about fire in Virginia’s forests and have fun in the process. The website is informative; easy to navigate, and correlates to Virginia’s State Standards of Learning (SOL).

A teacher’s guide helps educators incorporate the website’s modules into classroom lesson plans.

VDOF Records First Easement in Albemarle County

The VDOF recorded its first working forest conservation easement in Albemarle County. Albert and Ann Albano granted to the VDOF a working forest easement protecting nearly 149 acres along Rocky Creek, west of Millington. The easement merges two tax parcels into a single property whose future development is restricted, conserving a large block of forestland in perpetuity.

The Albano property is 97 percent forested and contributes to a large, unfragmented forested landscape along the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge crest. The easement protects nearly a mile of Rocky Creek and its tributaries. Rocky Creek is a major tributary of the Moormans River, which in turn flows into the South Fork Rivanna River, the chief source of the public water supply for the City of Charlottesville and the growth areas of northern Albemarle County.

Sen. Emmett Hanger, 24th Senate District, said, “The Albano family efforts are a prime example of good citizenry, tremendous conservation stewardship and personal responsibility to ensure Virginia is able to continue its significant land heritage for future generations. I applaud the work of the Albanos and that of dedicated groups, such as the Piedmont Environmental Council, for their ongoing conservations efforts. Each individual effort brings about benefits for us all, and I am pleased the Department of Forestry is recognizing this family for their contributions.”

The Albano easement was initiated by the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), a non-profit conservation organization. Ellen Graham Anderson Broome Craddock, Ann’s mother, was one of the early supporters of PEC.

For additional information on the VDOF conservation easement program, contact Mike Santucci, forest conservation specialist, at 434.220.9182, or visit the VDOF Web site at www.dof.virginia.gov.

Roanoke County’s Touch a Truck – Wings, Wheels and Water

The VDOF display at Roanoke County's Touch A Truck event.Roanoke County held its third annual “Touch A Truck” event in Salem. Approximately 8,000 people came out to see 150 vehicles of various sizes and shapes on display at Green Hill Park. Kids of all ages had the opportunity to check out these big attractions.

VDOF’s dozer and transport for Roanoke County were on display. Jon Willoughby, technician specialist for Botetourt/Craig/Roanoke counties, and Debbie Zimniewicz, program support technician, helped boys and girls climb aboard the equipment and watched as they pushed all the buttons; played with all the controls, and posed for pictures taken by their parents. Children also lined up for Smokey Bear pencils, erasers, sharpeners and rulers. They also picked up educational booklets such as “Identifying Trees” and “How to Grow a Tree.”


Faces of VDOF

Toni Noreika, assistant regional forester for the Eastern Region, has accepted the position of Regional Forester for the Eastern Region effective August 25. She has been with the state for 28 years and with DOF for 26 years. She started in a forest technician position and then moved into an area forester position. Toni was promoted into the assistant regional forester position in 2000.

New employee Peter Eales. New employee James Milburn. New employee Nathan Rutherford.
Peter Eales is our new forester for Halifax County. He received his bachelor’s in forestry from the University of Florida. He is coming to us from Ohio where he most recently has been working as a consulting forester. Prior to that, he worked for the Ohio Division of Forestry and the Florida Division of Forestry. James Milburn is our new technician for Isle of Wight County. For the past three years, he has been working for VDOF as a part-time firefighter. Nathan Rutherford is our new forester for Powhatan and Cumberland counties. He received his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Virginia Tech. He is coming to us from the South Carolina Forestry Commission where he serves as an area forester.

VDOF Researchers Co-Author Study

The Nantucket pine tip moth often reduces growth of loblolly pine but has been difficult to control with traditional insecticides. Imidacloprid and fipronil were evaluated side by side across multiple sites in Virginia. Significant reductions in Nantucket pine tip moth damage were noted in trees treated with either the imidacloprid or fipronil product compared with check trees. VDOF Forest Health Specialist Chris Asaro and VDOF Research Manager Jerre Creighton published the results of their study in "Use of Systemic Fipronil and Imidacloprid to Control Regeneration Pests of Loblolly Pine." You can read the entire article on our website.

Workshop for Women Landowners

If you are a woman who owns 10 or more acres of Virginia forestland or farmland; lives in some select counties or cities, and wants to learn more about programs that are available to enhance the productivity of your land, make plans to attend the one of the “Women and Land” workshops. Registration for either workshop, which costs $5 per person, is limited to 40 women landowners.

A workshop in Petersburg will be held September 22nd, and is open to women who live in the counties of Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Prince George, Sussex or Surry or in the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights or Hopewell. Registration deadline is Sept. 19, 2011. For more information or to register, contact Heather Dowling at 804.469.7343 or via email at heather.dowling@dof.virginia.gov.

A workshop in Harrisonburg will be held September 29th, and is open to women who live in the counties of Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Augusta, Rockbridge or Frederick or in the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton or Waynesboro. The deadline to register is Sept. 23, 2011. For more information or to register, contact Joe Lehnen at 540.459.7834 or via email at joe.lehnen@dof.virginia.gov.

“This 4.5-hour program is for women and by women,” said Heather Dowling, area forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry in Dinwiddie County. “There are a lot of women in these areas who own forestland and/or farmland but who may not be aware of all the resources and funding sources that are available to help them better manage their land. This workshop will enable women landowners to meet each other, discuss their ideas and challenges in an open and welcoming environment, and hear from women who are experts in the natural resources field.”

The workshop is a cooperative effort of the Virginia Department of Forestry; the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Transferring Family Forestland to Generation “NEXT”

Becky McCoy CPA [at easel, left] and Julie King, Esq. [at easel, right] present a hypothetical forestland transition scenario to participants at the 2011 Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation NEXT in Lake Monticello.The VDOF and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) held their third “Focusing on Forestland Transfer to Generation ‘NEXT’” short course in Lake Monticello. The two-day workshop encourages and challenges forest landowners to visualize and articulate their forestland transfer goals and begin planning for the future of their woodlands.

This 12-hour, in-depth short course draws from national curricula and utilizes local experts to present material relevant to Virginia’s family forest landowners. The first day is spent providing the context for family forestland transition and identifying and describing the various legal, financial and conservation tools available to landowners for the purposes of forestland transition planning. The second day is devoted to the application of these tools through a series of hypothetical and real-life examples.

Since the program began in 2009, 107 individuals representing 63 family units have completed the course. Follow-up surveys revealed that more than three-quarters of the participants had begun forestland transition planning in the six months following the course. As these landowners continue executing their plans, more than 21,000 acres of Virginia’s forestland are expected to remain sustainable, family-owned, and intact. Plans are underway for a 2012 program