The Hemlock Restoration Initiative Advisory Committee recommended the following three projects and they were approved by the WNC Communities Executive Committee on 8/11/2014.
The projects can be fully funded with $50,000 allocated from the NCDA&CS Hemlock Restoration Initiative and $25,000 donated to WNC Communities by Brad Stanback, a Haywood County landowner and member of the Advisory Committee.
Together, these three projects address three primary treatment and restoration methods (chemical treatment, predator beetles, and the search for native resistance or tolerance), and they provide opportunities for hemlock restoration in all 17 counties eligible for TVA Settlement funds.
Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council
Community Training and Release of Predator Beetles – $25,000 Award
This project proposes to accelerate the spread of predatory beetles that feed on hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Laricobius nigrinus (a.k.a., Lari or Ln) is a winter predator beetle wild-caught during their active period from October to May. The methodology is to:
Partner with the North Carolina Arboretum and a local land trust to release predatory beetles in order to:
- Develop easily accessible sites populated with predator beetles for: future beetle collection training for communities, land trusts, and other interested groups and future beetle collection for wide-scale release in other western NC communities.
- Maintain the collection and release equipment for use by the NC Arboretum and a local land trust; workshop and training groups; and community collection and release activities.
Educate interested community leaders, land trusts, stakeholders, and informal leaders of the public through workshops and field training to collect and release wild-caught predator beetles.
- Workshops will be a half-day, indoor, hands-on training followed by a 1 day bused field trip to existing collection sites near Banner Elk, NC.
- Demonstrated release protocols of collected Lari beetles will be augmented with additional beetles for small local release by attendees;
- Release of professionally collected Lari beetles at the NC Arboretum and a local land trust property.
Enable land trusts, communities, and interested groups to develop their own predator beetle nurseries, by developing a guide addressing identification of suitable local release sites; tracking beetle populations to plan local collection activities; and collection and re-release of beetles in new locations.
Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council, blueridgercd.org
Southwest NC Resource Conservation and Development Council
Screening for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Resistance – $25,000 Award
Thanks to the TVA Agriculture & Forestry Fund and other supporters, the Alliance for Saving Threatened Forests (ASTF) in WNC – which includes Southwest NC RC&D Council – is making good progress in their efforts to identify or develop adelgid-resistant hemlocks. The project partners will utilize these Hemlock Restoration Initiative funds to create a facility in Western North Carolina to provide initial screening of hemlocks for adelgid resistance.
The facility will be located at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville; they expect the facility to be ready for screening by the spring of 2015. The facility will test promising trees from throughout the 17 eligible counties. In turn, their work could benefit restoration efforts throughout that same area – and beyond.
Southwest NC Resource Conservation and Development Council, southwesternrcd.org
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Hemlock Restoration on the Blue Ridge Parkway – $25,000 Award
With these funds, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will work with the Blue Ridge Parkway to expand the scope of the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) treatment areas on and near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Avery, Haywood, Transylvania and Watauga counties to preserve eastern and Carolina hemlock stands. They will treat as many hemlocks as possible from March to May 2015, using soil injection of imidacloprid or dinotefuran.
They will also reach out to private landowners and park visitors with educational materials on how to save hemlocks; educational activities will include all of western North Carolina. This project highlights the important role that healthy hemlocks play in supporting regional tourism, while also emphasizing the need and opportunity to treat hemlocks with chemicals until longer-term solutions are widely available.
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, brpfoundation.org