Hurricane Michael Recovery

On October 10, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as a category four hurricane with 140-160 mph winds. The storm travelled through southwest Georgia leaving a trail of destruction that impacted the lives of all the citizens, forest landowners and farmers in its path. 

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) estimated that 2 million acres of forestland were impacted by the storm, and 79,000 acres were catastrophically damaged with a complete loss of timber. The value of the damaged timber is estimated at $763 million. More than 7,000 Georgia forest landowners were impacted. Read the full report from GFC here →

A special session of the Georgia General Assembly will convene on Nov. 13 to address how the state will support those impacted by the storm. The Georgia Forestry Association will continue to advocate for solutions for forest landowners who have been devastated by the storm. 

Updates

Georgia General Assembly Approves Aid for Forest Landowners Impacted by Hurricane Michael

On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Georgia General Assembly completed its week-long special legislative session aimed at aiding those directly impacted by Hurricane Michael. Among the series of measures that were approved, two bills were especially important to working forest landowners in southwest Georgia through a reforestation income tax credit/refund and disaster relief funding through the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC). Read more here →

Georgia Forestry Association Supports Legislation to Provide Assistance for Forest Landowners Impacted by Hurricane Michael

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Georgia General Assembly introduced legislation to assist to forest landowners impacted by Hurricane Michael. The Georgia Forestry Association (GFA) supports the legislation, House Bill 4EX, which is focused on providing a tax refund for landowners to support cleanup and reforestation efforts across 28 counties in southwest Georgia. Lawmakers will weigh in on the legislation during a special legislative session which is scheduled through the end of the week. Read more here →

Special Legislative Session Set for Nov. 13, Gov. Deal to Ask for $270 Million for Hurricane Relief Efforts

A special session of the Georgia General Assembly will convene next week on Nov. 13. In a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 8, Governor Nathan Deal said that Georgia legislators will be asked to approve a $270 million proposal to assist south Georgia for recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael. Read more from the Atlanta Journal Constitution →

Georgia Forestland Damage Assessed Following Hurricane Michael

The Georgia Forestry Commission has released a detailed analysis of the state’s timber losses as a result of Hurricane Michael. A combination of geospatial analysis and aerial and field examinations show damage to more than two million acres of forestland impacted by the storm, with an estimated timber value of $763 million. Read more from GFC →

Assistance

Storm Damage Information for Landowners

The Georgia Forestry Association has developed a package of information for landowners who have been impacted by the storm. This resource provides information related to managing damaged forests. Click here to learn more →

Additional Assistance Available for Hurricane Damaged Ag and Forest Land through NRCS

On Nov. 6, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that additional assistance is available to Georgia forestland owners who suffered damage to working lands due to Hurricane Michael through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Deadline to apply for this signup is December 14, 2018.

All counties that are currently eligible for the emergency EQIP signup are Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Laurens, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, and Worth.

Read the full announcement here →

Dec. 7: U.S. Forest Service to Host Webinar on Casualty Loss and Income Tax Deductions Related to Timber

Timber destroyed by hurricanes or other storms are “casualty losses” that may allow the property owners to take a deduction on their federal income tax returns. To help timber owners, as well as homeowners, who suffered timber or landscape tree damages with their tax reporting, this webinar, hosted by the U.S. Forest Service on Dec. 7, will focus on the new tax law changes that Congress passed in 2017 that affect the casualty loss deductions starting in the 2018 tax year. Learn more and register at www.forestrywebinars.net.

Donate

The Georgia Forestry Foundation is accepting donations to assist with Hurricane Michael relief efforts in southwest Georgia. GFF will be identifying projects that will help landowners with the highest need, and we will update you on our efforts regularly. You may donate online here. For questions, contact Brady Hummel at 478-992-8110 or at brady@gfagrow.org

Volunteer

Volunteers Needed to Support Clean Up Efforts in Southwest Georgia

Classmates of the Institute of Georgia Environmental Leadership are organizing efforts to assist with disaster relief efforts in southwest Georgia. 

The next leg of recovery is to help the residents clean up the fallen trees, brush and broken limbs. Katherine Zitsch with the Atlanta Regional Commission is helping organize teams (and individuals) to assist with the cleanup effort. Please reach out to her (kzitsch@atlantaregional.org) if you think you could provide:

  • Chainsaw assistance cutting fallen trees
  • Limb hauling assistance from yards to the curb (simply put, able bodies willing to help)
  • Bobcat operators (and bobcats) to help with the heavier lifting

Volunteers will be working on private property. Teams will be assigned to a specific location and will report to either a specific county’s local Emergency Management Agency or a church led relief effort (if you need to work under an EMA, just let Katherine know). Each has a defined footprint within southwest Georgia, with a formal list of activities to be completed. Lodging can be provided as needed. And, in many instances three meals a day will be provided, but not in all instances. Volunteers are needed as soon as this weekend and as long as two months from now. Teams or individuals can volunteer for a day, several days or several weeks – whatever works with your schedule.

If you or a team want to volunteer, please drop an email to Katherine (kzitsch@atlantaregional.org) with dates you are available, roles that interest you and your phone number — or forward this to someone that might be interested. If you have equipment that can be used (chainsaws, bobcats), please let her know that, too.