Marin County 2017 ‘SOD’ Blitz

Marin County 2017 ‘SOD’ Blitz

SOD-Oak-bleedingAn Oak with SOD caused bleedingSOD-sporangiaSOD sporangia

SOD Blitzes reach the eleven-year mark.
Volunteer to help in the fight against Sudden Oak Death deemed extremely crucial in 2017

Sudden oak death (SOD) is a serious invasive disease that is killing tanoak, coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve’s oak, and canyon live oak trees in California. It is the primary cause of tree mortality in coastal California, with more than 5 million trees having died in since its discovery in the mid-1990s. A water-loving organism, the pathogen continues to spread in drought years, but at a much slower rate than in wet years.
This year is poised to be one of the most significant in a decade for SOD. Given the well above normal precipitation and two consecutive wet years in California, researchers hope to recruit as many citizen scientists as possible for the 2017 SOD Blitz surveys. Extensively monitoring at-risk communities for spread of the pathogen that causes SOD (Phytophthora ramorum) will be vital to optimizing oak protection.

“It is essential that we have as many eyes in the field as possible looking for SOD symptoms this spring. With all of the wet weather, it is likely that Phytophthora ramorum is on the move. Super-sized SOD Blitz surveys will more thoroughly inform communities about local pathogen activity, empowering them to make educated decisions
about where best to focus preventative treatments and manage for the pathogen to help protect susceptible oaks. Prevention is key,” said Matteo Garbelotto, the UC Berkeley faculty member who runs the Blitzes.

People living or recreating near areas known to be impacted by SOD are encouraged to participate in a Blitz. Volunteers with a smartphone should bring it to the training with the free SODMAP Mobile app already installed, as it can help in identifying potential collection locations. Bring a GPS unit if a mobile device is unavailable.
Symptomatic California bay laurel and tanoak leaves generally precede oak infections, and are often the first sign that P. ramorum is in a location. Participants will be trained to identify and collect symptomatic bay and tanoak leaves as well as tanoak twigs and record sample locations. All materials necessary for sampling will be provided during training sessions.
SOD Blitz samples will be taken to the UC Berkeley Garbelotto lab to determine the presence or absence of the pathogen. Results will be posted online in the fall to SODMAP and to the SODMAP Mobile app. These two tools are updated annually with laboratory-confirmed (positive and negative) landscape findings and can be used to help inform people as to the presence and risk of SOD at a given location.
SOD Blitzes are made possible by the work of local volunteers, along with funding from the PG&E Foundation and the State and Private Forestry organization of the USDA Forest Service.
For more information on Sudden Oak Death and P. ramorum, visit the California Oak Mortality Task Force website or contact Katie Harrell at 510.847.5482 or kpalmieri@berkeley.edu. For more information on the Blitzes, visit www.sodblitz.org.

Marin meeting location:
Joseph R. Fink Science Center, Rm 103, Dominican University, San Rafael (1 hour presentation).
Next meeting, May 6, 2017, starting at 1:00 PM

For more information, write Wolfgang Schweigkofler

Marin County ‘SOD’ Blitz

Marin County ‘SOD’ Blitz

SOD-Oak-bleedingAn Oak with SOD caused bleedingSOD-sporangiaSOD sporangia

SOD Blitzes reach the ten-year mark.
Volunteer help in the fight against Sudden Oak Death deemed crucial in 2016

The above average rainfall levels officially make 2016 a year in which Sudden Oak Death (SOD) may spread dramatically. This comes after 4 years of very limited spread of the disease, due to drought conditions. Despite the drought, we did observe some new outbreaks in 2015, suggesting that in 2016 we will witness many more. SOD is present on over 500 miles of coastal forests, hence the help of volunteers to survey such a large region is absolutely necessary. SOD blitzes are volunteer-run surveys, now in their 10th year. These events are made possible thanks to funding by the PG&E Foundation and the US Forest Service, State and Private Forestry. In the past decade, SOD blitzes have identified a number of new infestations larger than those identified by any other survey. In addition to this major contribution, the best predictive model on SOD spread has been generated thanks to data collected by volunteers – SODBlitz Report.

The report that a second groups of strains, genetically quite distinct from the one currently present in California has been found in Oregon, has heightened the need to monitor California SOD outbreaks. Volunteers make these intensive surveys possible, and, additionally, it has been shown that volunteers participating in SOD blitzes are ten times more likely to actively manage their properties to slow down the spread of SOD. While some preventive treatments against SOD have been shown to work, a cure is not available hence preventing infection in areas where the disease has just arrived remains the key process. Intensive surveys are necessary to achieve this result. Thanks to the intensive surveys and massive datasets generated by the volunteers during the yearly SOD blitzes, two tools are available to learn about the presence or absence of the disease in a large, and ever increasing number of neighborhoods.
One of these tools is web-based and is called SODmap
, while the other is a free App, available both on the Apple store and Google Play, called SODmap mobile.
SODmap mobile can calculate the risk of oak infection by the SOD pathogen in the physical location in which the App user is standing. We urge all concerned citizens to participate in the SOD blitzes to maintain a vigilant eye on this lethal threat to four native oak species and to the related tanoak. All volunteers need to participate in a one hour long training, where they will receive all instructions and materials necessary for the survey. Just bring your phone, possibly with the App SODmap mobile already installed. Most volunteers then go and survey their properties or public land for a couple of hours. For a list of training events and community meetings go to
www.sodblitz.org . There are SOD blitzes throughout the State: most of them are in April and May so go to the SOD blitz website and find the SOD Blitz closest to you: the southernmost blitz will be in San Luis Obispo and the Northenmost in Mendocino. SOD blitzes are crucial to monitor the spread of the disease and to provide essential data to keep “SODmap” and “SODmap mobile” updated and useful. While a few hundred people usually participate in the SOD Blitzes, the data these few hundred people generate is used by hundreds of thousands, making the SOD Blitzes one of the most useful end consequential citizen science programs in the country.

Click SOD blitzes for a detailed list.

Marin meeting location:
Joseph R. Fink Science Center, Rm 103, Dominican University, San Rafael (1 hour presentation).
Next meeting, April 23rd, 2016, starting at 10:00 AM

For more information, write Wolfgang Schweigkofler