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HomeState & Private Forestry News
December 2018
From Public and Government Relations 

Head and shoulders of a woman
Suzanne Flory, Congressional Relations Specialist, Eastern Region

The 2018 mid-term elections have come and gone. The freshman class of new members for the 116th Congress has completed their orientations and are ready to take their seats. The new Congress will begin January 3, 2019. The 116th Congress will have a large freshman class. The 2-year congressional term ending in 2018 had the third-highest rate of turnover since 1974. In the Eastern Region (which encompasses 40% of Congress!), we now have six new House members who have overlap with National Forests lands (ME, NH, WV, MN) and three new Senators. There are also seven new Governors in the Eastern  Region footprint.

What does any of this mean for our Region? To me it means a chance to continue building the relationships we have with members, and a chance to inform and educate the new members about who the Forest Service is and why we add value to their States and/or Districts. I know the "telling our story" line can get tiresome, but it really does fit for what we need to continue to strive for and do with our members of Congress. If we aren't telling our story about our work in the East, someone else may be. There will also be some of the delegation from our Region who serve on both House and Senate committees who have a lot of direct influence and interest in the Forest Service.

What to expect? A lot of hearings; with the House flipping to the Democrats there will be some push to look at reversing some things as well as more oversight. For the Forest Service the spotlight will likely include sexual harassment, timber, and fire. The 2020 Presidential election may seem far away, but we will see folks positioning themselves for possible running, including members from the Eastern Region footprint.

As with any time of change and election cycle, please keep in mind that each of us represents the Agency. We are all entitled to personal opinions and views on politics; it's what makes a democracy work. But when it comes to communicating those views, there needs to always be a defined separation between your Agency role and personal life. I am always here to answer questions and help.

- Suzanne Flory, Congressional Relations Specialist,
  Eastern Region

Chesapeake Forest Champions for 2018 Announced

From the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
A man stands at a podium holding an award while talking to a room of people.
Matt Keefer accepts his award from Ryan Davis, Alliance Chesapeake Forests Program Manager. (Courtesy photo by Will Parson, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Forest Service presented the 2018 Chesapeake Forest Champion Awards at the 13th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum in Shepherdstown, WV. This year's honorees included Matt Keefer of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry who received "Greatest on the Ground Impact," Jennifer Gagnon of Virginia Tech and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program for "Most Effective at Engaging the Public," and Rick and Kathy Abend as "Exemplary Forest Stewards." Read the full Chesapeake Forest Champions article .
Morgantown Biological Science Technician Helps Guide Visually Impaired Veterans Down the Colorado River
Four men post for a picture on the banks of a river.
River Runner executive director and co-founder Joe Mornini, Travis Fugate,
Craig Larcenaire, and Scott Kelly take a break during their adventure through the Grand Canyon. (Courtesy photo provided by Team River Runner)

On November 29, the TODAY show aired a segment about five visually impaired veterans who kayaked 226 miles of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon last September. The veterans were accompanied in this first-of-its-kind adventure by 15 safety guides. Morgantown Field Office biological science technician Craig Larcenaire was one of the safety guides who volunteers with the nonprofit organization Team River Runner .

"This was my third time down the Colorado River, but the first time I guided a blind paddler [Travis Fugate] on a class IV whitewater," said Larcenaire. This was the culmination of training runs that Fugate and Larcenaire undertook on different river systems and whitewater classifications across the United States. Fugate became blind in 2007 while serving on a deployment in the Army. Fugate started kayaking shortly after his injury to help facilitate the healing process.

Larcenaire became involved with Team River Runner in 2008 while he was a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical hospital. He has worked with the Forest Service since 2014 as a Pathways student. Larcenaire is working on a pollination study for his Master's degree in entomology at West Virginia University.
Web Sites Provide Resources to Establish Monarch Butterfly Habitat
A monarch butterfly and caterpillar rest on a milkweed plant.
Monarch butterfly and caterpillar on milkweed. (Courtesy photo by Rob Routledge, Sault College,

The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, along with partners at the non-profit Monarch Watch , have created the Milkweed Market   to offer low-cost or free (for non-profits and schools) milkweed seedlings for pollinator gardens. Orders are now being taken to make sure suppliers can meet the upcoming year's demand. Preorders and early applications are necessary to help determine how many plants are needed. Read the full article on establishing monarch butterfly habitat .

Tree Risk Assessment Training Held in New England

By John Parry, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Group of people look at a tree.
New York State Parks staff practice their tree risk assessment skills. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Isabel Munck)

Durham Field Office staff Isabel Munck and John Parry conducted two training sessions this fall on how to assess tree risk. The training sessions included both indoor presentations and outdoor field exercises to improve staff expertise in assessing trees for risk of failure.

One workshop was held at Acadia National Park in Maine for about 30 National Park Service staff. Conducting tree risk assessments on carriage roads, campgrounds, and other park sites helps park personnel identify and address high-risk trees and ultimately improve safety for visitors.

A second workshop was conducted for 16 New York State Forestry and Parks staff. This more advanced "Train the Trainer" session was conducted for State staff to enable them to lead their own in-state workshops.

Munck and Parry have conducted 17 workshops in the past 7 years for New York State Parks personnel. These new in-state trainers will be able to offer this important training on a timelier basis.

Urban Forest Strike Team Training Conducted in Michigan

By John Parry, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Twenty one people wearing hard hats pose for a picture.
Michigan adds 21 urban foresters and arborists to its Strike Team. (U.S. Forest Service photo by John Parry)

State and Private Forestry staff from Durham, NH, helped conduct an Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) training session in October in Lansing, MI. UFST is a joint initiative of State Urban and Community Forestry staff and Forest Service staff in both the Southern Region and the 20-state region served by Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. This effort recruits and trains urban foresters and arborists on how to assess tree damage after disasters to urban forests. Impacted communities can use the assessments to help recover from a disaster, improve public safety, save tree canopy, and apply for FEMA reimbursement.

Michigan State Urban Forestry Coordinator Kevin Sayers coordinated the workshop with assistance from John Parry of the Durham Field Office. In addition to damage assessment, attendees learn how to conduct tree inventories, assess tree risk, and use GIS to collect data. Since 2009, 18 training sessions have been conducted in Northeastern Area States that have collectively trained more than 300 people.
Delaware Releases Wetland-Specific Plant Identification Book
Cover of a publications titled The Delaware Wetland Plant Field Guide.
Delaware Wetland Plant Field Guide.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program has created Delaware's first wetland-specific plant identification book. The Delaware Wetland Plant Field Guide  will help landowners, land managers, and scientists identify wetland plants. The guide has full-color photos, hand drawings, and easy-to-read descriptions.

The guide organizes 134 of the most common wetland plants found in Delaware into two main categories: freshwater and saltwater plants. It also includes a general introduction to plant identification and key characteristics, bloom/fruit timing, flower and fruit descriptions, and where you are likely to find each plant. Printed copies of the field guide are available upon request.
Eastern Native Grass Symposium Presentations Available Online
Banner for the 11th Eastern Native Grass Symposium held in September of 2018.

Field of wildflowers and other plants.
Courtesy photo by William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International,
The 11th Eastern Native Grass Symposium was held in Erie, PA, in September. The event featured the latest information from renowned presenters and exhibitors, best management practices, and field tours showcasing the progressive use of native grasses and forbs in a host of diverse applications.The symposium included 30 presentations and four field tours.

The presentations included these:
  • Multi-Acre Solar Arrays that Benefit Pollinators, Soil And Water
  • Grazing Native Warm-Season Perennials to Meet Production and Conservation Goals
  • Converting a Former Superfund Site to Native Grasslands and Meadows
  • The Native Plant Palette: Sustainable Design for the Environment & Your Business
  • Vegetated Bank and Shoreline Stabilization Utilizing Native Plants
  • Introduction To Pollinators and Native Habitat Establishment
Presentation summaries from the symposium are currently available as PDFs on the agenda page of the website.
Grant Opportunities

Fish and Wildlife Service: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests proposals for the restoration of the Great Lakes Basin fish and wildlife resources, as authorized under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (16 USC 941c). Closing date January 7, 2019. (  F19AS00015)

Forest Service: The U.S. Forest Service launched the Citizen Science Competitive Funding Program (CitSci Fund) in 2017. Goals include expanding capacity for the collection and analysis of data to advance science and land management, providing opportunities for meaningful participation by the public in agency activities, strengthening partnerships to address mutually beneficial outcomes and leverage resources, and sharing learning by participating in communities of practice. Closing date is January 27, 2019View more information .

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds, and the species and habitats they support. Closing date January 31, 2019View more information .

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