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For Release: Thursday, September 12, 2013

DEC To Discuss Forest Decline On Sand Flats State Forest

Public Meeting Scheduled for September 26 in Boonville

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Region 6 Lowville office will be holding an informational meeting on possible forest management activities on Sand Flats State Forest to address a severe forest decline due to forest insect and disease infestation. The meeting will be held at the Boonville Town Hall on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.

Sand Flats State Forest is located in the town of Lyonsdale, Lewis County and town of Boonville, Oneida County and includes 2,531 acres of actively managed state forest lands located outside of the Adirondack Park. The State purchased most of the land parcels in the 1930s and 1940s. Much of this land was abandoned agricultural lands with depleted soils and significant erosion problems. Following State acquisition, the Conservation Department began a massive tree planting program to restore these lands for watershed protection, flood prevention and future timber production.

This summer, during a routine yearly aerial flight, forest decline was observed in much this state forest. The flight showed hundreds of acres of pine with dead and dying tops. A ground check determined that the pines affected were strictly Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris). Forest health experts and entomologists investigated the site and determined the cause was Diplodia tip blight (Sphaeropsis sapinea). The damage caused by this disease is most severe on old or weakened trees. The tip blight damage was so severe because these Scotch pine are already stressed due to poor droughty soils and the age of the Scotch pine.

The public meeting will address what is killing the Scotch pine and possible management actions that can be taken to salvage the wood fiber.

The meeting will be held at the Boonville Town Hall, 13149 State Route 12, Boonville, 13309. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for individuals to talk one on one to forestry staff about the issue. A formal presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. to explain the problem and possible measures to address it.

For more information the public can contact: Forester Andrea Mercurio, DEC Lowville Sub-Office at 7327 State Rt. 812, Lowville, New York 13367 or by telephone at (315) 376-3521.

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