Okefenokee and Osceola Local Implementation Team (O2LIT)
Okefenokee/Osceola Longleaf Implementation Team Update
By Hunter Bowman, The Nature Conservancy
Since our last update, the O2LIT is excited to have sponsored a Technical Service Provider (TSP) training for qualified foresters and prescribed burners. TSPs write Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs) for landowners that want a turnkey plan for the stewardship of their property. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial assistance to landowners that enroll in the CAP program.
The landowner can then pay for the services of a certified TSP. Having more TSPs in the O2 landscape will give our landowners access to better technical resources, which will lead to better management for fire resiliency as we work towards our goal of a longleaf pine buffer between the fire prone Okefenokee and the private lands adjacent to it.
The O2 also received a visit from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who came to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in October. Refuge staff were extremely excited to teach the Secretary more about our landscape and the unique wildfire challenges we face. We hope that the Swamp will receive the dollars and attention it so richly deserves as a result of this historic visit.
Finally, the O2LIT had the opportunity to present some of the work it has done on the Fire Resilient Buffer around the Okefenokee Swamp at the November 2017 International Fire Congress in Orlando, Florida.
Three-year-old experimental longleaf planting on Rayonier property bordering the Okefenokee Swamp. Photo by Hunter Bowman.