South Lowcountry–Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (SoLoACE) Longleaf Partnership Update

South Lowcountry–Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (SoLoACE) Longleaf Partnership Update

By Bobby Franklin, The Longleaf Alliance

It’s been a busy spring and summer in the ten counties that comprise the SoLoACE Longleaf Partnership. We continue to assist landowners with longleaf management questions. We’ve followed up with survival checks on acreage planted to longleaf this past winter through our cost share program. So far, survival looks good despite an intensely hot and dry two-week period in mid-June. By the time you read this, we will have completed both of our scheduled Longleaf Academies. Longleaf 101 was held July 14-16 at the Savannah River Ecology Lab’s UGA Conference Center near Aiken. The 3-day workshop included classroom and field experience in management and was attended by 31 landowners and natural resource professionals. Longleaf 201, Fire and Longleaf, was held to a capacity audience at the Webb Wildlife Center in Hampton County August 18-20. Participants received classroom and field experience in learning how to use prescribed fire in longleaf forests. We continue to educate landowners about cost share opportunities that assist with the planting and managing of longleaf pine.  We cohosted a longleaf and prescribed fire field day on September 23rd with the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council at Clarendon Plantation in Beaufort County. This was the day before the annual South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council Meeting in Walterboro on September 24.

In early July we received word that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and their partners agreed to fund SoLoACE II through fiscal year 2017. This will provide additional support for cost sharing of planting and prescribed burning of longleaf pine and the funding of two additional longleaf academies and field days during the cycle. In addition, we will be partnering with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and interested private landowners in installing red cockaded woodpecker nesting cavity inserts on qualified land within the Partnership. We will still be focused on getting seedlings planted in this next cycle, but we are also excited about getting more longleaf acreage prescribed burned through our cost share and Fire and Longleaf Academies. We have applied for two additional funding sources that, if awarded, will greatly enhance the opportunity to increase landowner capacity for prescribed burning in the region! Stay tuned for additional details on this exciting project. For additional information on programs and services, contact Bobby Franklin, SoLoACE Coordinator.

Image 1:  Field trip during the July Longleaf 101 Academy in Aiken, SC.  Photo by Robert Abernethy.