Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Monday, October 31

eNewsletter from the Governor’s Commission
on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal
Friday, October 28, 2005

Dear Friend,

When Governor Barbour asked me to chair the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal, I promised him we would have a report of recommendations completed by the end of this year. As you can imagine, we’ve been working quickly, but thoughtfully, to fulfill this commitment.

As I have said before, our overall mission is to give local leaders on the Gulf Coast and South Mississippi access to ideas and information that will help them decide what their town, county, and region will look like in the future. After all, the final decisions on implementation will almost exclusively be made by local officials and private investors, not by Jackson or Washington, D.C.

I want to begin giving you an update of our activities, and also to let you know about upcoming events for you to participate to help build a better Mississippi.

In mid-October, the Governor’s Commission hosted the Mississippi Renewal Forum. This weeklong, intense, collaborative planning session on the Gulf Coast included local officials, community leaders, and community planners from around Mississippi and across the country. The purpose of this event was to find out what citizens cherish most about their individual communities, the region’s architectural traditions, and their hopes for the future.

By all accounts, this Renewal Forum exceeded our expectations. I agree with the Governor’s statement that this event “has been everything I hoped it would be and far, far more.” Included in this eNewsletter is a link to the presentations made at the Renewal Forum. I hope you will take time to review these impressive presentations and ideas. You will see more detailed plans in the coming weeks. The ideas that emerge from the Commission’s work are merely tools for local communities. The Commission will assemble ideas and resources. Local communities will decide what works best for them.

Following this planning session, we’re now in the process of hosting a series of town hall meetings in eight communities to continue gathering information and receiving much-needed input from citizens.

Included in this eNewsletter is a list of these upcoming town hall meetings. They are open to the public and I hope you will plan on attending one of these important events. Please encourage your family, neighbors, and local leaders in your community to attend with you.

Also included in this eNewsletter is a summary of the Governor’s Commission, its structure, areas of focus, membership, links to recent news articles, and information about how to contact us. Thank you for your interest in the Governor’s Commission.

The Governor’s Commission is comprised of several different committees. Two types of committees will do most of the Commission’s work:
County/Regional committees—These committees will convene in open, town hall-type meetings to ensure that the public can provide input and ideas.Issue committees—These committees will meet to consider issue-specific areas including infrastructure, finance, economic development, agriculture and forestry, tourism, defense and government contracting, small business/entrepreneurship, education, health and human services, and faith-based and non-governmental organizations. There are also advisory committees made up of state, federal and local office-holders and elected officials. For a complete description of the Issue committees, their leadership, and specific area of focus, click here:

The Governor’s Commission also includes members from across the state, primarily from South Mississippi. For a complete list of the membership, click here:

The following is a link to the presentations made at the Mississippi Renewal Forum. They should not be considered comprehensive and are subject to change as the work of community presentations, public comments, and town hall meetings proceeds.

(All Town Hall Meetings are open to the public. Please make plans to attend one of the following meetings in your community.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2005
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Pearl River Community College, Poplarville
Thursday, November 3, 2005
6:00 PM
Magnolia Center
Ellisville Boulevard, Laurel
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
6:00 PM
New Fire Station
200 Eureka Street, Taylorsville

Tuesday, November 8, 2005
6:30 – 8:00 PM
North Central Elementary School

Wednesday, November 9, 2005
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Diamondhead Community Center
Monday, November 14, 2005
6:00 PM
Lake Terrace Convention Center
One Convention Place, Hattiesburg
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
6:00 PM
Wayne County Library
1103A Mississippi Drive, Waynesboro
Monday, November 21, 2005
6:00 PM
Union Station
1901 Front Street, Meridian

It’s OK to dream of doing it right

Help us fine tune your vision for the coast

Commission has ideas, but people have the power

We are looking for big ideas

Mississippi begins planning for new infrastructure


Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal
800 Woodlands Parkway, Suite 200
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Phone: 601-956-0349
Fax: 601-991-3240

Wednesday, October 26

Forest Landowner Recovery & Tax Workshop Locations

Oct. 29 ---- Kemper -- Dekalb, Ag barn --- 9:00am ---- 601-743-2837
Nov. 1 --- Harrison----Gulfport Ext. Office---6:00pm---228-865-4227
Nov. 2-Neshoba--Multi-Purpose Center Philadelphia--2:00pm--601-656-4602
Nov. 3---Lamar---Lamar Multi-purpose, Purvis--6:00pm--601-794-3910
Nov. 7---Stone------TBA---------6:30pm----601-928-5286
Nov. 10---Leake--Leake Co. Extension----6:30pm----601-267-8036
Nov. 15---Rankin-----Rankin Co. Ext. Office----6:00pm

For more information, contact: Butch Bailey at (601)794-0671

For a list of County Extension Offices:

'Solution' for Stopping Mold Growth

As Gulf Coast homeowners engage in the post-Katrina rebuilding process, a team of Mississippi State wood protection specialists is urging them to "think beyond bleach and water."
While that tried-and-true combination has its place, university scientists also are recommending a borate supplement with mold-controlling agents prior to hanging sheetrock.
"Many coastal residents already may have used a mixture of bleach and water to clean mold from their water-damaged homes," said Terry Amburgey, a professor in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center. "While bleach is germicidal and will clean mold from wood surfaces, the mold growing within the wood will return if the wall cavities are not completely dry."

That's why Amburgey and his MSU colleagues are recommending borates supplemented with a mold-control agent, which kill molds as well as bacteria and wood decay fungi--and termites, roaches and other insects, for that matter. If those weren't enough reasons, then consider that borates can penetrate wood and are colorless, odorless, non-corrosive, and, yes, essentially not toxic to humans, he added.

"Bleach is corrosive and can compromise electrical connections and be absorbed by building materials," he observed. "Using bleach as a cleaning agent for large areas such as wall cavities also will cause the gradual release of chlorine gas into living spaces for an extended period of time."

So what is a borate? According to the land-grant researcher, it's simply a material made from or containing a form of boron, a non-metallic natural element mined from the earth and found literally in hundreds of forms and uses--many in pest control.

In responding to questions from South Mississippi residents who have not yet begun cleaning their homes, the MSU team is recommending a low to moderate pressure application of a mild detergent solution, followed by a borate formulation containing a mold-control agent.
Amburgey said the fungicide should be an Environmental Protection Agency-registered product that is designed for the use intended and applied according to label instructions.

Steve Hunter, an assistant professor in MSU's Institute of Furniture Manufacturing and Management, also urged homeowners to ensure that abundant air is circulated throughout damaged structures. "Mold hates moving air," he explained.

As for dealing with water-damaged furniture, Hunter offered the following tips:
·First, move all damaged furniture to a clean room in which a normal and stable household moisture level can be maintained;
·Wipe each piece with a damp cloth that has been soaked with a solution of bleach and water; and
·Dry immediately and thoroughly to prevent water damage to the original finish.

After a month of continuing inspections for the recurrence of mold, Hunter said homeowners then should give all bare furniture surfaces a good covering with paste wax.

Returning to his discussion of house structures, Amburgey said that, while molds grow on wood building components, they do not cause actual structural damage to the wood itself.
"Though they are primitive organisms, molds require the same four factors for growth that humans do," he said. "Those are air, temperature, water, and food. If the growth of mold fungi is to be prevented or controlled, one or more of these four basic factors must be altered."

Amburgey also cautioned homeowners to refrain from replacing interior wall coverings until the moisture content in wall cavities registers below 20 percent. A licensed pest control agent should be contacted to verify the moisture content, he said.
The bottom line: If wall cavities are closed while moisture remains in the walls, those nasty, hated molds surely will return.

For more information on mold removal from home structures, contact Amburgey at (662)325-3057 or .

For help with mold removal from furniture, Hunter may be reached at 325-8344 or

Tuesday, October 25

Portable Sawmills to Help Salvage Timber

Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Inc. is coordinating an effort to assist landowners in salvaging timber felled by Hurricane Katrina. Landowners that need the services of a small portable sawmill to convert logs to lumber for their own use or to convert logs to square cants for stacking and storage until the market opens up can access a database of small, portable sawmill operators from outside the storm-damaged area that have expressed an interest in moving into the area to do contract or volunteer sawing.

Landowners having internet access should go to and check out several links to Katrina Timber Salvage. The first link is to Wood-Mizer, Inc., the major supplier of portable sawmills in the southeastern US. Wood-Mizer issued a challenge to their clients in Mississippi and surrounding states and respondents that have expressed an interest in moving into the impacted area to do contract or volunteer sawing are listed. The second link is to a list of the portable sawmill operators that have responded to the same challenge issued by seven other companies that supply portable sawmills and equipment in the Southeast. Landowners without internet access may call the RC&D office in Brookhaven (601-833-5539), the SE MS RC&D office in Hattiesburg (601-296-1187) or the Coastal Plains RC&D office in Perkinston (601-528-5133) to get the lists.

For more information, call Bennie Hutchins, RC&D Coordinator, 601-833-5539.

Air Drying Green Lumber

Green lumber should be piled on stickers as soon as possible after sawing. This improves air circulation between the boards, speeds drying and prevents discoloration. Applying an end coating to the boards will reduce splitting and saves as much as 10% of the lumber value. Properly piled lumber dries quickly in warm, dry weather. Softwoods like pine will air dry to suitable moisture content in as little as 6 weeks during the spring and summer months. Hardwoods like oak will dry in 8 - 10 weeks. Little air drying takes place in late fall or winter. The illustration below shows a properly stacked pile of green lumber. The "stickers" (1 inch thick by 1.5 inches wide) and top weights should be aligned vertically and placed about 2 feet apart. Cover the top of the pile with a tin sheet with overhang on all sides. Leave a space between the cover and the lumber pile. Covering with plastic is not recommended.

MS National Forest Timber Salvage Meeting Called by Mississippi Public Lands Council

The Mississippi Public Lands Council has scheduled a meeting with the U.S. Forest Service for Friday morning, October 28, 2005 to discuss progress being made on Hurricane Katrina Salvage. The meeting will be held in the main auditorium at Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center on the Hattiesburg Campus of the Pearl River Community College, located at 906 Sullivan Drive, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

This is located near the Forrest County multi-purpose building off Highway 49, South. The meeting will begin at 10:00 AM and end by noon.The Forest Service has an incident command team stationed at Hattiesburg that is working on getting sales prepared and advertised. At this meeting we hope to have details on the locations and status of sales to be sold on the Chickasawhay, DeSoto, Bienville, and Homochitto Districts, as well as when we may expect to start receiving advertisements.

It is very important that MPLC members attend this meeting. Those planning to attend should phone Gene Sirmon at the number below.

Gene A. Sirmon
Mississippi Public Lands Council
P.O. Box 1033
Pelahatchie, Mississippi

Wednesday, October 19

Southern Pine Timber Supply Steady, Mills at Full Capacity

The forest products industry in the U.S. South is moving ahead at a steady pace, despite hurricane-inspired stories of lumber price hikes and so-called lumber shortages. “Short-lived lumber price spikes have already come and gone since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” comments Wade Camp, director of economic services, Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA).

Even with an estimated 25 billion board feet of storm-damaged timber in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, timber supply in the South remains stable. The area of damaged timber represents only about 2.5% of the overall forest resources available in the South. Currently, massive recovery operations are underway to reclaim as much downed timber as possible.

Approximately 60% of the fallen timber is softwoods, predominately Southern Pine. Although some mills sustained storm damage, downtime was minimal and most mills quickly resumed normal operations. In fact, Southern Pine manufacturers are on tap to produce more than 18.5 billion board feet in 2005, an all-time record. Future challenges may not point to timber damage as much as to transportation costs.

Often called “America’s Woodbasket,” the forests of the South are abundant and growing, offering more than 214 million acres of trees. By volume, the most plentiful softwood species in this region is Southern Pine. “Our industry is not running out of trees,” remarks SFPA’s Eric Gee, a registered forester. “Despite recent catastrophic events, our resources are resilient, and will regenerate quickly,” he adds.

What Makes the Lumber Blue?

The Southern Pine Council has created an informative brochure about blue stained lumber. The brochure includes a helpful FAQ section as well.

What makes the lumber blue?

Blue stain is a common cause for the discoloration of lumber. Certain dark-colored microscopic fungi cause a bluish or grayish discoloration in the sapwood of the tree. However, not all blue stains are blue. Common stain shades can be blue to bluish black or gray to brown. Sometimes, the stain coloration in lumber may appear as red, yellow, orange, or purple.

SBA Expediting Business Disaster Loans

In an effort to provide faster assistance to business owners in the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is expediting the process for disaster loans of less than $100,000 for businesses that can meet specified criteria.
The business owners must have satisfactory credit, a gross income greater than $25,000 and a satisfactory SBA loan history. Additional requirements include a controlling ownership by an individual or group of individuals and a verifiable federal tax return with 12 months of operations.

SBA disaster loans to businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations are available up to $1.5 million to repair damage to real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $1.5 million are also available to small businesses unable to pay bills or meet operating expenses.

The SBA offers loans of up to $200,000 to repair disaster damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture and clothing. Interest rates can be as low as 2.68% for homeowners and renters and 4% for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant's financial condition.

For more information on SBA's disaster loan program, call the SBA's customer service center by calling toll-free at 1-800-659-2955, or contact the agency via e-mail at Information is also available on the SBA's Web site at

Tuesday, October 18

Forest Landowner Recovery & Tax Workshop Locations

Oct. 18 Pike -- Magnolia Extension -- Office 1:00pm
Oct. 18 Marion -- Columbia Expo Center -- 6:30pm
Oct. 18 Jeff Davis -- SW Event Center -- 6:30pm
Oct. 20 George -- Century Bank Conference Room -- 10:00am
Oct. 20 Covington -- Collins Multi-Purpose Building -- 6:30pm
Oct. 20 Franklin -- Extension Office -- 6:30pm
Oct. 24 Amite -- Liberty, Harrison Building -- 6:00pm
Oct. 24 Lauderdale -- East MS Electric Power, Meridian -- 6:30pm
Oct. 25 Pearl River -- Poplarville, 1st Baptist -- 6:00pm
Oct. 27 Lamar -- Multi-purpose -- 8:00am
Oct. 27 Clark -- Quitman MP Building -- 6:00pm
Nov. 1 Harrison -- Gulfport Extension Office -- 6:00pm
Nov. 2 Neshoba -- Multi-Purpose Center Philadelphia -- 2:00pm
Nov. 3 Lamar -- Lamar Multi-Purpose, Purvis -- 6:00pm
Nov. 7 Stone -- TBA -- 6:30pm
Nov. 10 Leake -- Leake County Extension -- 6:30pm

For more information, contact: Butch Bailey at (601)794-0671.
For a list of County Extension Offices:

Friday, October 14

2005 MFA Annual Meeting

The Mississippi Forestry Association has rescheduled their 2005 Annual Meeting for January 23 – 25, 2006, at the Silver Star Convention Center, Pearl River Resort near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Biloxi in late October, but due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on many of their members the meeting was rescheduled and relocated

Among those scheduled to speak are Congressman Chip Pickering; Dr. George Hopper, Dean of the Miss. State University College of Forest Resources; Joe Calhoon, a leading authority on leadership development and organizational performance; and Marc Walley, Vice President and Director of Timberland Management for Forest Investment Associates.

For further information about the meeting contact the Mississippi Forestry Association at Eleana Pope or 601-354-4936.

Tuesday, October 11

No Restart at Texas Coated Paper Mill Shutdown by Hurricane

The owners of Pasadena Paper have closed the 190,000 tons/year coated paper mill at Pasadena, Texas. The mill shut September 21 for hurricane Rita evacuation and was never restarted due to the subsequent spike in the cost of energy.

A letter to the United Steelworkers union, which represents 200 of the mill's 300 workers, said the company defaulted on its loans from secured creditors and had no choice but to conduct an orderly liquidation. Most of the union-represented employees were terminated Friday but some will remain on payroll until Dec. 2 to clear the mill's inventory.

The mill made coated one-side and private branded coated two-sided freesheet sheets and web used in labeling, book-cover and commercial printing applications. It's grades ranged from and 100-lb. cover to menu paper, playing card stock, release liners and facestock grades.

Pasadena Paper is owned by Belgravia Investments of Vancouver, which also owns the 220,000 tons/year West Linn coated freesheet mill in Oregon.

US House Hurricane Recovery Hearing

The House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health held an oversight hearing on Friday, October 7 in Washington, D.C. on Restoration after Recent Hurricanes and other Natural Disasters: the Federal Role in Recovery after Catastrophic Events Affecting Forest Lands.

The hearing, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (OR), focused on the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated millions of acres of forestland valued in the billions of dollars.
Witnesses included USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth; Mississippi Forestry Association, Executive Vice President Bruce Alt; Mississippi State Forester Everard Baker; Larry Jarrett of the Natural Resources Initiative; James Cummins of the MS Fish and Wildlife Foundation; and other representatives of public agencies and private organizations. MFA and other witnesses stressed the need to quickly to restore the damaged forests, minimize the risk from catastrophic fire and capture the value of the downed timber.
They suggested that numerous obstacles impede appropriate and timely action, and urged Congress to facilitate recovery processes.

To request an email copy of MFA's oral testimony, please contact MFA.

Forest Landowner Timber Damage Recovery and Taxes Workshops

Questions to be answered:
1) Timber damage recovery
Do I have enough damage to make a salvage sale?
How much time do I have?
How do I find a logger?
Do I have enough standing undamaged timber to make a future sale or to manage?

2) Timber casualty loss
Do I qualify for a timber casualty loss?
How do I fill out IRS Form 4684 to claim a loss?
Who can help me estimate fair market value loss and basis?
How can IRS Form T help me establish basis?
Will involuntary conversion help me postpone taxes on salvage income?
What kinds of replacement properties will qualify?

New Recovery and Tax Workshop Locations

MSU County and District Extension Offices-Contact Information

AIA Offering Free Damage Assessments

Architects from across Mississippi and the U.S. are assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina by donating their time and expertise to perform free damage assessments for home and small business owners who request them.

The national office of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is supporting the Mississippi Chapter of the AIA in training and organizing teams of volunteers to do building assessments. The national AIA Disaster Assistance Program, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has trained 105 Mississippi members to conduct assessments, and then develop a form for architects to simply and accurately document damage to a building.
Ann Somers, president of AIA-Mississippi, said, "There is a great need in the area hit by Katrina to have buildings assessed. We want to do our part to help those who have lost so much, and providing this free service is the right thing to do."

Business and home owners will receive a copy of the damage assessment. This report can be used to document the extent of damage when seeking insurance, federal aid or other reimbursement. In addition, assessments will help owners determine the extent to which the structure has been compromised.

To request an assessment. call toll-free 1-866-242-2203. AIA-Mississippi said assessments will be performed until requests are no longer received.

Monday, October 10

MS Forestry Commission Reports Trees Take a $2.4 Billion Hit from Katrina

Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage to timber growing on 1.3 million acres of forestland in Mississippi, according to a damage assessment report released by the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC). The report also includes tree damage found in 181 Mississippi cities and communities, with the combined value of timber and tree damage estimated at $2.4 billion.

The volume of commercial timber damaged consists of 14.6 million cords of pulpwood and 3.2 billion board feet of sawtimber. The estimated value of the damaged timber is $1.3 billion.

According to the report, 38 counties received varying degrees of timber damage, but the greatest impact occurred in the coastal counties northward to the Laurel area in Jones County. Significant pine damage was found in Hancock, Harrison and Pearl River counties. Hardwood timber along streams and rivers was also significantly damaged.

The MFC estimates more than 2.7 million trees found in the 181 cities and communities were damaged. The economic impact of the urban tree damage is estimated at $1.1 billion.

In a related item, concerns about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi forest landowners was the focus of a hearing held recently in Washington, D.C. A panel of forestry leaders testified before the U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. The title of the hearing was "The Federal Role in Recovery After Catastrophic Events Affecting Forest Lands."

Everard Baker, interim state forester at the MFC, offered testimony about the wildfire danger created by Katrina. Baker said there is a serious risk of wildfires in the counties of South Mississippi created by broken and uprooted trees and other storm debris. He said providing wildfire protection on the forestlands of Mississippi is a top priority of the MFC.

Baker also discussed the impact of the hurricane on the private forest landowners in South Mississippi.

Tuesday, October 4

Updated Burn Bans from the MS Forestry Commission

Counties Currently Enforcing a Burn Ban: Adams, Amite, Covington, Forrest, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Simpson, Stone, Walthall, Wayne, and Winston (agricultural and forestry burns exempted)

Burn Ban Map

Monday, October 3

Biodiesel Fuel to Assist Katrina Relief Effort

West Central Cooperatives of Ralston, Iowa has donated 15 thousand gallons of biodiesel fuel for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in Mississippi. Alcorn State University and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives will coordinate delivery of the much needed fuel in the Katrina affected areas to assist farmers as well as workers assisting the clean-up efforts. “We decided to donate to Katrina affected farmers and workers,” said Jeff Stroburg, CEO of West Central Co-op, “because we knew there was a need. We also knew the Federation was assisting farmers and rural communities in the aftermath of the hurricane and we wanted to help.”

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel derived from natural oils like soybean oil, which can be used in existing diesel engines with little or no modification. Blends of 20 percent biodiesel to 80 percent petroleum diesel (B-20) are recommended for use in most engines. The contribution of West Central Cooperatives is significant, but blending the biodiesel with petroleum diesel and distributing it to areas took the coordinated efforts of several agencies including: Alcorn State University, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the Electric Power Association of Mississippi, Southland Oil, Earth Biofuels, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi Biomass Council, Mississippi Technology Alliance, and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.

Tim Mood, Vice President for Economic Development with Electric Power Association of Mississippi will coordinate fuel delivery of one tanker of biodiesel to agricultural consumers in the affected area who have experienced power outages as part of the rural system. Fuel will be used in back-up generators and in heavy equipment used for the relief effort such as chippers, grinders, and trucks.

A second tanker will be blended in Meridian and sold at the Earth Biofuels Service Station in Byram, Mississippi. Starting Saturday, October 1, 2005, farmers receive a 20 percent discount at the station on 5780 Terry Road.

Click for larger image.

Timber Tax Website

Check out this timber tax website sponsored by Purdue University and others; it provides good advice and resources for small forest landowners responding to Hurricanes.

Financial Tips & Resources for Hurricane Recovery

The following brochures were produced by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Financial Education.

Financial Tips & Resources for Hurricane Recovery

Financial Tips & Resources for Hurricane Recovery in Espanol

The information is provided in both English and Spanish and is also available on the Financial Literacy and Education Commission's website, <>, and the U.S. Treasury Department's website, <>.