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Help the Trees



In the October 2015 issue of Marin Magazine Bill Marken wrote about the phenomenon of sudden oak death and explored the history and current state of the pathogen. Discovered in Marin County in the mid-1990s, SOD spread through forests of Northern and Central California and killed more than a million trees. While the drought has slowed the spread of the disease, wet years exasperate it and with 2016 rain levels the highest they have been in four years, cases are expected to be on the rise. Because of this, researchers are encouraging residents near affected areas to attend training sessions and to take part in citizen scientist surveys of sudden oak death, known as SOD Blitzes. Volunteers should attend the meetings with the “SODmap mobile” app already installed on their phones to help identify potential collection locations. Blitz samples will be taken to the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab to determine the presence or absence of the pathogen and results will be posted online in the fall. sodblitz.org

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