Eastern Redcedar Mapping Project
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office, 5801 North Broadway, Oklahoma City, Okla., Conference Room Suite 200.
Those attending include:
· Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach
· State Conservationist Ron Hilliard
· Secretary of the Commissioners of the Land Office Clifton Scott
· Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce Rural Development Director Rob Gragg
· Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Mike Thralls
· Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director Clay Pope· Partnership between Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office, USDA Agriculture Research Service (Grazinglands Research Laboratory), Oklahoma RC&D Councils and others to inventory the Easter Redcedar tree population in highly infested counties for the purpose of locating logging operations.
· NRCS is using new technology to enhance existing satellite images to identify redcedar growth and estimate the inventory available for harvest.
· Harvesting the redcedar will regenerate our grasslands, create new jobs, improve wildlife habitat and stimulate new market development in the state’s rural areas.
· This project ties to the Department of Commerce’s natural resource inventory (asset mapping/research for rural areas) directed by HB2288 from the 2004 legislative session.
· Counties that are included in this Cedar Mapping project:
· Since the first 12 counties were completed in 2004, 73 businesses have been added, creating 180 jobs which is a positive economic impact.
· A USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) survey in 1985 found an estimated 3.5 million acres of rangeland, pasture and forestland had been invaded by cedar compared to 1.5 million acres in 1950. The acreage increased to eight million acres by 2004 and without control will reach 12.6 million acres by 2013 (28% of the Oklahoma landscape).
· In Oklahoma, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) estimates the number of Eastern Redcedars is increasing at an estimated rate of 852 acres a day or over 300,000 acres a year. It is estimated that at this rate of spread, the red cedar population doubles every 18 years.
· The trees are affecting people’s health, reducing productivity from grasslands and destroying wildlife habitat, all of which is costing the state millions of dollars each year.
· Oklahoma State University research shows that one acre of cedar trees can absorb 55,000 gallons of water per year, which means less water goes into lakes and aquifers, threatening water supplies for cities and towns.
· In 2000, redcedars cost Oklahoma an estimated $218 million dollars annually through catastrophic wildfires, as well as loss of cattle forage, wildlife habitat, recreation and water yield. By 2013 that figure is expected to increase to $447 million if major preventative control steps are not taken.
· Land management planning assistance, such as prescribed burning and follow up management are available through the NRCS. Cost-share funding for cedar removal is also available through NRCS. Interested landowners can contact local NRCS field office personnel. NRCS has field offices in nearly every county in the United States.