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.

Author Profile

Howard Dyckoff has lived in Oakland for over 40 years and has been involved with many community groups, including Oakland Digital and Oakland Local, Block by Block, the East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA), and CBE. A Brooklyn, New York, transplant, and an Aerospace Engineering graduate of NY Polytechnic, Howard also attended Laney College, where he wrote for the Laney Tower newspaper and was elected editor. Howard also attended the Starr King School at the Theological Union in Berkeley.

He has served as the Berkeley Free Clinic’s Outreach Coordinator, and also worked as an information technology professional at Chevron, Sybase, and Wells Fargo. He worked in both the 2010 and 2020 Census. Howard has been a regular contributor to Oakland Local and online publications such as TechTarget and Linux Gazette and currently writes for Oakland Voices. He currently does event photography and portraiture around the Bay Area.

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