FORESTRY 411
STATE LEGISLATIVE REPORT
The Florida legislature concludes Week 3 of its session today. Highlights of the week include movement on legislation that would strengthen the state's Best Management Practices (BMP) program, address the "Rights of Nature" movement and direct the development of values on the environmental benefits/services provided by timber and agricultural lands.


Pictured above: Association member Korey Griner of Usher Land & Timber testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee in support of SB 1772 (Environmental Value of Timber and Ag Lands) by Sen. Bill Montford. The bill received a unanimous vote in favor.
WATERS OF THE US (WOTUS)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army have completed step two of a two-step process by finalizing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define the “Waters of the United States” or “WOTUS". This final step establishes and defines the regulatory authority of the Clean Water Act and will replace the rule published on October 22, 2019.

The new WOTUS rule includes streamlined definitions of applicable waters, clearly lays out exclusions for waters not traditionally regulated, and defines terms in the text that were originally undefined. It will apply to four categories of waters: territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; perennial and intermittent tributaries; certain lakes, ponds and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters. 

The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the federal register.


ONE TRILLION TREES
This year at the world economic forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, President Trump announced that the United States will be joining the initiative to plant “1 trillion trees” in order to help combat climate change. This initiative was originally spurred by comments from American Association for the Advancement of Science that planting one trillion trees could help offset the last decade of carbon emissions at last year's forum. 

As part of this initiative, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) are working on a bill that focuses on addressing climate change through tree planting, innovative technologies, and plastic use reduction. Representative Westerman, a licensed forester, recognizes the important role of trees as part of the solution for climate change, calling them the “the kidneys of the earth.” 

There has been some early pushback from Democrats claiming that more focus should be put on retaining forests, not planting them; however, the recognition of forest establishment as part of the solution for climate change may represent opportunities for both landowners in the Southeast as well as the forest industry, if the bill is successful. 

FUNDRAISER FOR JENNIFER BRADLEY
Association members showed their support for Senate candidate Jennifer Bradley at a fundraising reception in Lake City earlier this week.

Pictured above from left: Austen Roberts, Mike Bell, Carlton Jones, Jennifer Bradley, Kathy and Jimmy Bielling, Avery Roberts, Phillip Pritchett and Association Executive Vive President Alan Shelby at the reception.
Please RSVP to Krista Harvard --
850.222.5646 or Krista@ForestFla.org.
FLORIDA FORESTRY TEACHERS’ TOUR: SPONSORS NEEDED 
The Florida Forestry Teachers’ Tour is an annual event that gives the Florida Forest Service and the forest industry the opportunity to share forestry’s story with educators from around the state. Teachers take back the information and insights they learn in this four-day hands-on experience and incorporate them into their curriculum during the school year. This year’s tour will be held June 18-21, based in Fernandina Beach, FL. 

Sponsors are vital to the success of this program! Each $500 sponsorship allows one teacher to participate at no cost to him/herself beyond travel to and from Fernandina Beach. To become a sponsor, contact Krista Harvard ( Krista@ForestFla.org   or 850.222.5646) or simply send your check, payable to the  Florida Forestry Foundation, to P.O. Box 1696, Tallahassee, FL 32302. 
SESAF ANNUAL MEETING
February 23-25, 2020
Panama City Beach, FL
Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort

"Recovering From The Storm"
Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
February 22, 2020
8 AM-12 PM
Master Logger CLE Workshop
Branford, FL

March 4, 2020
11:30 AM
Membership Meeting
Hal Y. Maines Community Center
Lake Butler, FL

March 18, 2020
11:30 AM
Membership Meeting
Coastal Plywood Company's Magnolia Lodge
Quincy, FL

April 28, 2020
10 AM
Executive Committee Meeting
Lake Butler, FL

June 3-4, 2020
Master Logger 2-Day Training
Gateway College
Lake City, FL


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