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Weekly News 11/28/11

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, November 28, 2011
  • BCAP Outlook - The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) that was such a hot program a couple years ago when it was first implemented, with appropriations at that time at nearly $500 million per year, recently received 2012 appropriations of only $17 million with priority for funding the supply component. The funding initially was for incentives payments for biomass producers for the "collection, harvest, storage, and transportation (CHST)” of biomass products, in addition to provide payments to landowners to encourage growing biomass crops. There was also a component to provide landowners incentives to grow biomass crops for supply. Some in the wood industry had received initial payments for biomass wastes available in their supply stream. But by and large, the industry in general was opposed to supporting the program as it was a market distorting mechanism. With this funding level, the program should have little to no market impact.


  • Thanks to the Wood Industry for a Sustainable Environment (WISE) - Some of you will recall the WISE group, a conservation education and advocacy organization that had been formed in 2000 to provide a forum for promoting the importance of the wood industry and conservation, especially during the period of the 2000 presidential campaign. At that time, many in the industry had donated to the corporation to help achieve its goals. Reports at that time were that it was very effective at educating many about the value of Ohio's wood economy. The group had been inactive for a number of years. Recently an ad hoc group of the WISE Board met at a gathering in Athens and during that time, the Board discussed what to do with the remaining funds that the group still held in an account. The group elected to donate the remaining funds to the Burns Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund administered by the OFA Foundation. A check for $38,000 was recently deposited into the Memorial Scholarship fund, which will be used to expand the scholarship offerings to students aspiring to forestry and conservation careers. To all of those affiliated with WISE and its activities, many thanks for this action and gesture. A special check presentation and thank you is planned for the Annual Meeting in March, 2012.


  • Tree Benefits Calculator - From an article in the Akron Beacon Journal, Jim Chatfield from OSU Extension talks about the environmental benefits of trees. The article talks particularly about energy savings benefits but also mentions others benefits and references the Tree Benefits Calculator that allows you to estimate the economic benefits of the environmental services of the tree or trees on your property. It is an interesting read.


  • Tree Party Rebellion - Here is another interesting article from the Forest Business Network about what Cloudcroft, a rural New Mexico community did to deal with wildfire threats from nearby federal lands in the Lincoln National Forest. The article describes how local residents banned together in what is being described as the "Otero County Tree Party” to force the hand of the federal government in taking action to reduce fire hazards on USFS land. It will be interesting to see if what took place in New Mexico does in fact become a model for other communities around the country, as the article mentions, in cutting through the red tape of federal bureaucracy in dealing with national forest land management issues.


  • Tree Farm Webinar on Ruffed Grouse Management - The American Tree Farm System is hosting a webinar on December 1 and 2 PM on Ruffed Grouse Ecology and Habitat Management. You can register for the free webinar at the registration link. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with call-in number and web login. If you cannot make the webinar, you can still view the slides and recordings by visiting the Tree Farm System website and scrolling to the bottom of the page. You can also see a list of other upcoming webinars.


  • New Name for Ohio EPA? Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally thinks that the general public confuses the Ohio EPA with the US EPA. Apparently that confusion concerns him as he has asked his staff to suggest new names for the state agency, as he believes it is time for the agency to "reevaluate its identity.” Ohio is one of only 3 states in the country to use the name Environmental Protection Agency for the state regulatory organization. One of Director Nally's stated concerns is that he was troubled when he heard criticism of the US EPA in TV commercials and was concerned about the image problem it carried to the Ohio EPA. Some have cited that there is a cost to changing the name of the agency which is especially unnecessary at a time when budgets are very tight.


  • SOFA December Newsletter - Here is the December Newsletter for the Southern Ohio Forestland Association. Information includes Asian Longhorned Beetle news, how to price a hunting lease, benefits of brush piles, viewing flying squirrels, and the minutes of the last meeting.

 

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