2019 Napa SOD Blitze, April 26th

Sudden Oak Death Blitzes: monitor disease-spread in a rainy year, be on the lookout for new dangerous strains, and test oaks for SOD thanks to OakSTeP

Californians do things differently. When the devastating forest disease known as Sudden Oak Death (aka SOD) became established across much of the coastal forests of Northern California, local residents together with environmental leaders and U.C Berkeley scientists decided to close ranks and fight back. They started what has become one of the oldest tree health Citizen Science program in the world: the SOD Blitzes. Over 500 citizens per year volunteer their time to survey their local neighborhoods for the presence of SOD, and results are made public in real time on www.sodmap.org and SODmap mobile, two of the largest databases on distribution of a forest disease ever created by man. Thanks to this knowledge, most Californians will be informed on how close SOD is to their oaks and determine whether it is time to protect them. This year, local volunteer-lead surveys will be organized throughout the State starting on March 30th (Marin County) and ending in Northern Humboldt County on June 15th. Below is a list of dates and venues: participation in a SOD blitz is 100% free, but requires attendance of a 1-hour training meeting. SOD spreads with rainfall, so this wet year may be yet another critical one for California forests, but there are several other new reasons to attend the 2019 Blitzes. SOD Blitzes traditionally focus on collections of California bay laurel and tanoak leaves, since these are responsible for most, if not all, the spread of SOD. This year we will lunch the program OakSTeP (Oak Sod TEsting Program) that will allow licensed arborists, preserve managers, and qualified government employees to team up with U.C. Berkeley to test oaks for SOD infection. Registration to OakSTep will be available at each SOD Blitz training, and within a couple of weeks you could have a precise diagnosis of possible SOD infection in oaks. In addition to OakSTeP, all samples collected by volunteers will be tested to ensure the new and aggressive EU1 strain of the pathogen found in Oregon has not arrived in California. Finally, if you are thinking of doing something or you have done something to control SOD in the past, we will have a questionnaire and some important information and tips for you at the trainings. So 2019, offer many reasons to come to the BLITZes, and remember SOD blitzes do provide a nice opportunity to be strolling through the marvelous California landscape with the entire family.

Trainings will last one hour, samples have to be collected after the training, all collection materials will be provided, but bring your mobile phone or GPS device. Possibly install the App SODmap mobile (free) before the meeting.

 

Friday, April 26th, Napa

6:30- 8 pm, UC Cooperative Extension classroom, 1710 Soscol, Napa

Contact: Bill Pramuk info@billpramuk.com

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