EVENT: Volunteers Launch Weekend “Blitz” To Save Oaks From Deadly Disease

By Howard Dyckoff, Oakland Voices Correspondent

Oakland is famous for its oak trees but those are at risk due the algae-like disease called Sudden Oak Death (SOD) syndrome, which has devasted coastal forests in Northern California.

Oak trees are needed by many plants and animals and dying oaks raise local fire danger.  While there currently is no cure for SOD, last year’s survey found the disease spreading in Alameda County – particularly in the North Oakland, Claremont Canyon, and Northeast Berkeley.

Volunteers are teaming up this weekend to survey local oaks, checking for the prevalence of SOD. You can sign up to help with this year’s “bioblitz” survey tracking the pathogen, taking place tomorrow and Sunday. After a 1-hour training, you can survey for suspect Bay leaves – the main carriers to oaks – in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Volunteers can return suspect samples to a drop box at the training site by Sunday evening for laboratory analysis. The results will be announced on the web and at public meetings in fall. A new protocol this year makes it possible to estimate actual local SOD infection rate, so it’s important to attend the training this year, even if you did it last year.  

Click here to sign up for a one-hour training at 10 AM in Orinda, and click here to sign up for the 1 PM bioblitz on the UC Berkeley campus.

Update: 2012 East Oakland Project

Thanks to everyone who applied to our 2012 East Oakland project, and to our 2010 West Oakland project graduates as well as all of the organizations – including East Oakland Building Healthy Communities – who helped us recruit.

Our application process is now closed.

Over the next two weeks, all applicants will learn about their status. If you have received an email invitation to an in-person interview, please reply as soon as possible. If you do not reply, we will assume you are not interested in an interview and we will give your interview slot to another applicant.

Once we have selected our ten correspondents, we will ask them which days work best for our 2-day weekend orientation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Director, Christopher M. Johnson – OaklandVoices[at]gmail[dot]com.