ARSA Update: Apalachicola Longleaf Initiative Phase 3 Funded!
By Brian Pelc, The Nature Conservancy
The members of the Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance (ARSA) are pleased to announce that the Apalachicola Longleaf Initiative Phase -3 was approved for funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company. ARSA partners will use this funding to restore 1368 acres from off-site pine to native longleaf. 608,000 longleaf seedlings will be planted in the area between the years 2016 and 2017. Private landowners in the ARSA region will also have access to a new source of cost share assistance administered through the Florida Forest Service whereby 20,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat will benefit from fire assistance and competition control. ARSA will continue to fund a coordinator position to help write work plans, facilitate meetings, and develop the ARSA LIT conservation plan. Finally, land managers will be teaming up with the staff from Wallwood Boy Scout Camp to develop a longleaf pine ecosystem youth enrichment program. The next two years will continue the momentum for longleaf restoration and management in the ARSA region and we are looking forward to a productive relationship with NFWF and the Southern Company.
In other news, ARSA members co-facilitated a multi-agency S130/190 introductory firefighter course and graduated 24 new fire practitioners. A follow-up S131/133 course filled up in less than a day and will take place in October 2015.
Image 1: 24 participants completed S130/190 firefighter training in the ARSA region. This is the first of four workshops aimed at increasing the number of prescribed fire practitioners working in longleaf pine habitat management. Funding was provided through ARSA’s NFWF/Southern Company Apalachicola Longleaf Initiative-Phase 2. Photo by Brian Pelc.