Okefenokee and Osceola Local Implementation Team Update
By Alan Dozier
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge hosted our quarterly LIT meeting in January. International Forest Company provided lunch as well as a presentation on their genetic improvement work with longleaf pine seedlings. We also had Donald Imm and Mike Harris with the USFWS Ecological Services give an informative presentation on listing of the Black Pine Snake in southern Mississippi and southwest Alabama. We also took this opportunity to review and revise the Okefenokee/Osceola Local Implementation Team (02LIT) Conservation Plan. Following the meeting, Okefenokee Adventures provided a short excursion through the Suwannee Canal and into the Okefenokee prairies.
02LIT has a 2016 Longleaf Stewardship Fund RFP in the hopper, so to speak, with the theme being capacity building for longleaf pine restoration in the Significant Geographic Area. Plans are to certify a new group of Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Service Providers as a way to facilitate more forest management plans and to extend funding of the Longleaf Forester position currently supported by a grant from the Dobbs Foundation. If approved, the grant will also support continuation of the Job Corps Burn Team.
02LIT coordinator, Alan Dozier, has announced his second retirement and will be stepping down from the position. The Nature Conservancy will be recruiting to fill this slot so that restoration can move forward with plans that were put in place over the first two years of the team.
Image 1: 02LIT tours the fire prone Okefenokee. Photo by Alan Dozier.