Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Announcing New Backpack Sprayer Calibration Forest Science Fact Sheet

Penn State Forestry Extension has just released the fourth in a series of Forest Science Fact Sheets. The latest in the series, entitled Backpack Sprayer Calibration Made Easy, provides in-depth practical information on calibrating backpack sprayers for both band applications and spot treatments. The fact sheet was written by Dave Jackson, Penn State Forest Resources Educator, Art Gover, Penn State Wildland Weed Management and Kimberly Bohn, Penn State Forest Resources Educator.

“Calibration” simply means determining the output of a sprayer so a known amount of spray solution is applied to a given area. Applicators must know this if they wish to apply an herbicide at a specific dosage, e.g., ounces or quarts per acre. Failure to calibrate spray equipment can result in misapplication of herbicides, repeat applications, damaged non-target plants, excess costs, as well as environmental concerns.

This fact sheet presents a simplified process of calibrating a backpack sprayer known as the “ounces to gallons” method. With this method, the amount of spray, measured in ounces, converts directly to gallons per acre.

Band applications are fixed-width, fixed-speed applications in which the applicator treats larger, continuous areas of vegetation. In forestry applications, band treatments are commonly used for spraying interfering plants such as hay-scented and New York fern. Band applications may also be used to treat weeds along fence lines and trees planted in rows.

Spot treatments are used to treat discrete targets scattered about a site, such as a single shrub or patches of continuous vegetation. This is probably the most common use of a backpack sprayer. This type of treatment is commonly used when controlling invasive shrubs such as multiflora rose, honeysuckle, and autumn olive. Calibrating for these types of treatments allows the applicator to estimate spray coverage so the mix will be effective without over- or under-applying.

Taking the time to calibrate the application will ensure the proper dose of herbicide is used. Although calibration represents an “extra” step and time you feel you may not have, it is not. Applications cannot be made correctly without first calibrating. Applicators who master calibration gain a valuable skill and take control of the process rather than simply mimicking instruction that may be incorrect.

This fact sheet is available online at the link below or in hard copy by contacting the Penn State Extension Ag Publications Distribution Center at: 
Phone: 877-345-0691 or E-mail:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Forest Landowner Workshop - Working in Your Woods, A Bird's Eye View

This is a great opportunity if you’d like to learn more about birds in your woods. The event is free and happens June 9 and 10 at the University of Pitt, Bradford, PA. The Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture and Forest Service have been working with numerous partners (American Bird Conservancy, Ruffed Grouse Society, Audubon Pennsylvania, PA Game Commission, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resource) to organize a free, two-day workshop in June for forest landowners: Working in Your Woods, A Bird's Eye View.

The first day of the workshop will bring together speakers to present on the following topics:
·         Techniques to create healthy forests and help wildlife;
·         Financial incentives and programs available to landowners; and
·         Opportunities to benefit a variety of bird species, including ruffed grouse, scarlet tanager, wild turkey, cerulean warbler, American woodcock and many more.

During the second day of the workshop, participants will visit field sites (transportation provided) to see the techniques and habitat discussed in day 1 and may have an opportunity to see birds at a bird banding site (depending on conditions).

Participants must register, but registration is free and lunches will be provided each day.  For more information or to register visit

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Former Georgia Governor Nominated as Secretary of Agriculture

Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

See responses below from a number of national forestry organizations concerning President Trump's announcement that he will tap former Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, to head the Department of Agriculture. It appears most are pleased with this announcement. 

SAF CEO Matt Menashes stated:
"SAF welcomes the nomination of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the nation's next Secretary of Agriculture. As Georgia's governor, he recognized the critical importance of managing and sustaining forests as one of Georgia's precious natural resources, and consistently championed policies that promoted and supported stewardship and benefited rural communities. SAF's diverse membership of foresters and other natural resources professionals looks forward to working with Perdue and landowners to manage and protect these important private and public forests."

The American Forest Foundation
"As a landowner and avid sportsman, he knows the importance of America's forests, both public and privately owned, and understands the rural landowners and communities that work so hard to manage and protect these lands. As governor, he had an incredible track record of supporting policies at the state level, that helped landowners large and small to be responsible stewards of the land."

The National Association of State Foresters
"Trees and forests are America's fundamental infrastructure, offering real solutions to the nation's economic and environmental challenges. By focusing on national priorities outlined in every state's Forest Action Plan, together with Secretary Perdue we will continue to efficiently conserve, protect and enhance America's 'green infrastructure'".

Perdue was governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. He grew up on a farm in Perry, Georgia, served as a captain in the US Air Force, and later earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. He's the first cousin of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Agriculture Committee, which is tasked with overseeing his confirmation.

Confirmation hearings have not been scheduled yet but will likely begin soon.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is the Endangered Species Act a target for the Trump administration?

The below article appeared in the Morning Ag Clips today.  With Trump being sworn in as president I thought this was a timely article to post. Stay tuned, we will see where it leads. This may directly impact logging in Central Pennsylvania with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing of the northern long-eared bat as threatened in 2015. 

"It has never been used for the rehabilitation of species. It's been used for control of the land," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. "We've missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked."

Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to law.

BILLINGS, Mont. — In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities.

Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as grey wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists.

Now, with the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to a law they contend has been exploited by wildlife advocates to block economic development.

“It has never been used for the rehabilitation of species. It’s been used for control of the land,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. “We’ve missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked.”

Bishop said he “would love to invalidate” the law and would need other lawmakers’ co-operation.

The 1973 act was ushered though Congress nearly unanimously, in part to stave off extinction of the national symbol, the bald eagle. Eagle populations have since rebounded, and the birds were taken off the threatened and endangered list in 2007.

In the eagles’ place, another emblematic species — the wolf — has emerged as a prime example of what critics say is wrong with the current law: seemingly endless litigation that offers federal protection for species long after government biologists conclude that they have recovered.

Wolf attacks on livestock have provoked hostility against the law, which keeps the animals off-limits to hunting in most states. Other species have attracted similar ire — Canada lynx for halting logging projects, the lesser prairie chicken for impeding oil and gas development and salmon for blocking efforts to reallocate water in California.

Reforms proposed by Republicans include placing limits on lawsuits that have been used to maintain protections for some species and force decisions on others, as well as adopting a cap on how many species can be protected and giving states a greater say in the process.

Wildlife advocates are bracing for changes that could make it harder to add species to the protected list and to usher them through to recovery. Dozens are due for decisions this year, including the Pacific walrus and the North American wolverine, two victims of potential habitat loss due to climate change.

“Any species that gets in the way of a congressional initiative or some kind of development will be clearly at risk,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former Fish and Wildlife Service director under President Bill Clinton. “The political lineup is as unfavorable to the Endangered Species Act as I can remember.”

More than 1,600 plants and animals in the U.S. are now shielded by the law. Hundreds more are under consideration for protections. Republicans complain that fewer than 70 have recovered and had protections lifted.

“That tension just continues to expand,” said Jason Shogren, professor of natural resource conservation at the University of Wyoming. “Like a pressure cooker, every now and then, you’ve got to let out some steam or it’s really going to blow.”

Congress reconvened last week with two critics of the law holding key Senate leadership positions — Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso as the incoming chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski as chairwoman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Spokesman Mike Danylak said Barrasso will seek to “strengthen and modernize” the management of endangered species but offered no specifics.

Barrasso’s predecessor, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, suggested in an interview that one species should be removed from the list every time another is added. Another Republican, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, said he wants to limit applications for protections to one species at a time.

In the House, Rep. Tom McClintock of California, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, said he wants to ease logging restrictions in national forests to reduce tree density blamed for catastrophic wildfires.

Some Democrats, too, have been frustrated with the law: Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson and two other Democrats joined 11 Republicans last week on a bill to end protections for wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming.

Simply by striking a few key words from the law, it could be transformed from a tool to protect huge areas of habitat for imperiled species into little more than limits on hunting for protected animals, said J.B. Ruhl, a Vanderbilt University law professor considered a leading expert on the act.

Trump’s position is unclear. A strong advocate for energy development, he has lamented environmental policies he says hinder drilling. But his appointment of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary was seen by some conservationists as a signal that Trump will support protections for public lands to the benefit of fish and wildlife.

The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment. The incoming administration already has immigration, the health care law repeal and infrastructure improvements atop its agenda.

If the administration or Congress wants to gut the law, “they certainly can do it,” Vermont Law School professor Patrick Parenteau said. “The real question with the Endangered Species Act is where does it rank?”

Advocates and senior Obama administration officials argue the law’s success is best measured by extinctions avoided — for 99 per cent of protected species, including black-footed ferrets, whooping cranes, American crocodiles and hundreds of others.

“There’s a lot of evidence that some species are conservation-reliant,” Ruhl said. Political fights over certain species have dragged out for decades, he added, because recovering them from “the brink of extinction is a lot harder than we thought.”

Morning Ag Clips
Published on January 17th, 2017