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.

Thursday, December 29

Hurricane Katrina Relief from U.S. Congress for Forest Landowners

MFA is very pleased and excited to announce that the U.S. Congress has passed legislation designed to provide financial disaster relief assistance to forest landowners affected by the 2005 hurricanes in the Gulf region.

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, signed by President Bush on December 21, contains some beneficial tax provisions designed for small private forest landowners.

Separately, several forest landowner programs were included in an emergency supplemental appropriations title to a Dept. of Defense appropriations bill. Some summary information on these provisions and programs is presented below. The total funding for these forestry programs is $950,000,000 ($950 million), to be shared among affected states. Additional details and more explanatory information will be released soon.

MFA members, staff, and our many forestry community partners have been working diligently on these disaster relief measures for Mississippi’s forest landowners and forestry community ever since Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. MFA wishes to gratefully thank and acknowledge the invaluable contributions to this united effort made by the Mississippi Forestry Commission, the Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources and Forest and Wildlife Research Center, the MSU Extension Service, the Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Mississippi Loggers Association, Terpstra Associates, the American Forest and Paper Association, the Louisiana Forestry Association, and the USDA Forest Service.
MFA wishes to especially thank and recognize the outstanding leadership and support of Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Trent Lott, Congressman Roger Wicker, Congressman Chip Pickering, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Congressman Gene Taylor, and their dedicated professional staff. Without their full support and dedicated leadership, these historically unprecedented relief measures for the forestry community and Mississippi’s forest landowners would not have been possible.

Forestry Provisions
Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and Pandemic Influenza, 2006 (H.R. 2863)


Section 101 -- Emergency Conservation Program
A portion of $199,800,000 to be made available to private, non-industrial forest landowners for payments for up to 75% of the cost of reforestation, rehabilitation, and related measures not to exceed $150 per acre. To be eligible to receive a payment, a PNIF shall have suffered a loss of, or damage to, at least 35% of forest acres on commercial forest land of the forest landowner in a county affected by hurricanes that occurred during the 2005 calendar year, or a related condition, and during the five year period beginning on the date of the loss, reforest the lost forest acres, in accordance with a plan approved by the Secretary of Agriculture that is appropriate for the forest type, use best management practices, and exercise good stewardship while maintaining the land in a forested state.

Section 102 – Emergency Watershed Protection Program
$300,000,000 to be made available to landowners through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for cleaning up structures on private land and to reimburse private, non-industrial forest landowners for costs associated with downed timber removal – not to exceed $150 per acre

Section 107 – Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program
$404,100,000 of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding to be made available for the creation of a new forestry-specific reserve program. Non-industrial forestland owners can enroll their lands in a 10 year FCRP contract for either a lump sum payment based on a net present value formula or an annual rental payment equal to the average rental rate for conservation reserve contracts in the county in which the land is located. Eligibility shall be limited to owners that have experienced a loss of 35% or more of merchantable timber.

· Additional $30,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture’s State and Private Forestry fund to assist with hurricane-related expenses related to fire suppression, urban forestry, and stewardship.

· Additional $20,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture’s National Forest System fund to assist with hazardous fuels reduction related to hurricane activity

Forestry Tax Provisions
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (H.R. 4440)

· Small Timber Owners (those owning less than 500 acres of timber in the Gulf Opportunity Zone) may expense $20,000, rather than $10,000 provided for in current law, of reforestation costs incurred from August 27, 2005 through 2007. In addition, Small Timber Owners may elect a five-year carryback of Net Operating Losses incurred after August 27, 2005 and before 2007. Publicly traded corporations and Real Estate Investment Trusts are specifically excluded from the benefits of these Small Timber Owner benefits.

· Provides 50-percent bonus depreciation to help businesses rebuild in the Zone. Permits businesses to claim an additional first-year depreciation deduction equal to 50 percent of the cost of new property investments made in the Zone. The additional deduction applies to purchased computer software, leasehold improvements, certain commercial and residential real estate expenditures, and equipment. All depreciation deductions (including bonus depreciation) would be exempt from the AMT (alternative minimum tax).

· Provides enhanced section 179 expensing to assist small businesses. Current law permits eligible small businesses to expense up to $100,000 of qualifying investments. Eligible small businesses are defined as those with less than $400,000 of annual investments. The proposal doubles the amount that may be expensed under section 179 (from $100,000 to $200,000) for investments made in the Zone.

· Speeds rebuilding efforts by temporarily reducing demolition and cleanup costs. Permits businesses to expense 50 percent of cleanup and demolition costs in the Zone.

Statement of Governor Haley Barbour Concerning the Passage of the Congressional Relief Package

"Congress has already passed or has pending Katrina related legislation that will be crucial to the rebuilding of the Coast and South Mississippi and to the rebuilding of tens of thousands of lives in the devastated area. After final passage this package will grant our Katrina victims and our state support that is literally without precedent in our country's history.
Senator Thad Cochran deserves more credit than anyone. Through his patience and perseverance, his position of power but also the immense respect his fellow Senators have for him, Thad got his colleagues to agree to a critical package for hurricane relief, and I expect final passage this week. Thad's is a magnificent achievement.
Senator Trent Lott also proved why Mississippi and America need him in the Senate. He spearheaded passage of a tax bill that will greatly stimulate investment and reinvestment in our state. It will create new jobs and restore old jobs. He and Congressman Chip Pickering also led negotiations that resulted in a $2 billion package of provisions to help support Medicaid and to provide health care to evacuees and displaced people from the Gulf region.
I want to express my personal appreciation to Speaker Denny Hastert, whose support and personal involvement were indispensable. He and the House Republican Leadership, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, recognized the needs of our region and agreed to unprecedented large-scale programs to allow us to rebuild and renew the Coast, South Mississippi and the Gulf region.
Our entire Congressional delegation, both Democrats and Republicans, worked to help. I particularly recognize the help of Congressman Roger Wicker, whose influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee played a major role in the $29 billion special appropriations package.
In November, when the White House proposed a $17 billion Katrina relief package, it contained a lot of important things for Mississippi, but, as I said at the time, there were other critical things that were not in there.
Senator Cochran and his team began working with the state immediately, and he instructed his folks to put together a package to add to the President's proposal and to be sure it included what Mississippi needs. Senator Cochran got an additional $12 billion added to the package, much of it for activities the federal government had never done before. Most important among those is to help homeowners who lived outside the flood zone but had their homes destroyed by the storm surge. The House of Representatives passed Thad's package early this morning, and the Senate will take it up this week. We owe Thad a giant debt of gratitude.
In fact, the last week has again demonstrated that Mississippi has the finest pair of U.S. Senators in the country, bar none. And they have both come through in our state's hour of need."

Enewsletter from the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal

December 19, 2005

The Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal is nearing the December 31 deadline for submission of the Final Report to Governor Barbour. We are focused on final editing of the Report, which will include the findings and recommendations of all ten Issue Committees, along with the various County and Geographic Committees. This information and these recommendations will serve as tools for local communities as they face tough challenges such as housing, transportation, sewage, roads, education, finance, and many other issues. A printed version will be available to the public shortly after the first of the year, and an online version will be posted even sooner.

As all of you know, Governor Barbour and our congressional delegation have been working every day to get our funding package passed. These efforts have borne fruit. Please use this link to view Governor Barbour’s statement on the passage of the relief package:

The Commission continues to work with Coast communities as they make their rebuilding plans. Every week, citizen groups meet in all eleven towns and in the surrounding counties. Some cities are holding seminars to educate their personnel and elected officials on SmartCode and other aspects of zoning, coding and permitting. Some towns are already moving ahead with implementing the plans produced at the Mississippi Renewal Forum. They have scheduled follow-up sessions with local leaders and officials to figure out which parts of the plans work best for them, and how they can begin implementing these ideas. Here are some of the specific things that have happened, and some that are coming up:

Residents of Bay St. Louis partnered with KaBoom! organization to build a new children’s park in downtown Bay St. Louis on Saturday, December 17. Neighborhood children designed the park, and 650 volunteers helped build the park using tools provided by KaBoom! You can read more about the effort and see pictures of the park at

Moss Point held a three-day follow-up planning charrette on December 17, 18 and 19 to focus on implementing town plans. The final plans will be presented to Moss Point residents on Monday, December 19, 2005 at the Riverfront Recreation Center on Denny Street.

D’iberville will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the final charrette plans on Monday, December 19 at D’iberville City Hall at 6:00 p.m.

Hancock County and Bay St. Louis plan to hold a modular housing expo in Bay St. Louis.

Pass Christian City Council has tasked the city’s planning commission with implementing SmartCode.

Long Beach has requested to have follow-up charrettes and SmartCode seminars.

Gulfport has scheduled a two-day charrette and SmartCode seminar January 19 and 20.

Waveland is in the process of planning their own town charrette.

Ocean Springs has held their own town charrette. The city has also held a full-day SmartCode seminar, and is actively working on passing SmartCode for the city.

Gautier and Pascagoula are having full-day SmartCode seminars in January.

The Governor’s Commission will take part in the National Association of Homebuilders annual convention in Orlando January 11-13 in Orlando, Florida. Over 100,000 homebuilders will attend this convention, and will have a chance to see the need and opportunity to build houses in Mississippi. For the Commission’s display space, Michael Barranco of Barranco Architecture in Jackson will build a full-size, up-to-code cottage using designs from the Mississippi Renewal Forum.

Two publications are available at city halls and other places around the Coast, and they are flying off the shelves. Demand for these publications has been so great, we’ve had to order a second printing. The Summary Report provides an overview of the eleven town proposals. “A Pattern Book for Gulf Coast Neighborhoods” is a one-volume resource that gives a homebuilder or home-rebuilder information to build or rebuild in keeping with the Gulf Coast’s rich vernacular architecture. They are the product of the Mississippi Renewal Forum held in Biloxi, and they offer tools and plans for rebuilding communities and homes.


Keep up with all of the Governor’s Commission activities and news by checking our website frequently. The Governor’s Commission website is:


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

Policy Snapshots for Rebuilding Mississippi

Sponsored by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Forest Thigpen, President

Policy Snapshots for Rebuilding Mississippi

Merry Christmas!

Policy Snapshots for Rebuilding Mississippi highlights the best ideas for restoring the economy of south Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by utilizing the wonders of the free-enterprise system.

These ideas aim to encourage private investment in the region, to affirm and encourage the generosity and self-reliance that Mississippians showed so bravely immediately following the storm, and to help determine the proper role of government in the recovery and rebuilding effort.

Policy Snapshots will be sent on an occasional basis. All the ideas shown below, and many others, can be read at, a unique site hosted by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP). That website and these Policy Snapshots were designed by MCPP and are NOT associated with the governor's office or the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal. is formatted as a weblog, or “blog” to enable you to comment on any of the ideas shown. We welcome your comments!

Forest Thigpen
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Gulf Opportunity Zone Will Encourage Private Investment
Congress has passed legislation to create a Gulf Opportunity Zone, or GO Zone, to provide a variety of tax incentives for investing and re-investing in business ventures and housing in south Mississippi. It also creates a special class of tax-exempt bonds that can be issued by the state ... click here to read more

Coast Students Could Choose Among Special-Emphasis Public Schools
With the Stennis Space Center on one end of the Coast and Chevron and Northrop Grumman on the other - and with medical, defense, and other industries in between - there are excellent opportunities for high schools to be developed with special emphases in science, engineering, medicine, arts, or other fields. For example, ... click here to read more

Eliminate Capital Gains Tax & Allow Expensing of Capital Expenditures
Mississippi should eliminate capital gains taxes for all investments in job-producing businesses in the region. Also, firms that purchase new equipment and rebuild facilities should be allowed to fully expense those investments, rather than depreciating them over many years. [This item was posted before Congress established the federal Gulf Opportunity Zone. However, the Mississippi legislature should act to provide state tax breaks as well.]

State Should Sell Assets to Help Pay for Rebuilding
Our state leaders should evaluate the inventory of assets owned by the state and sell those assets that are not producing the results they were intended to produce. State asset sales would provide a number of benefits. First, and most obvious, ... click here to read more

Hear Ideas for Rebuilding on MCPP's Vital Signs Radio Commentaries
You can hear these and other ideas on the Vital Signs radio commentaries by Forest Thigpen, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. You can also read the text of these commentaries or hear them online... click here to read more

Your Tax-Deductible Contribution Will Help Us Promote the Principles of Limited Government, Free Markets, and Strong Traditional Families
MCPP is supported entirely by contributions from people who want to help us promote the concepts of limited government, free markets, and strong traditional families. We do not accept any government funds for our work, and we do not do contract research or lobbying...
click here to read more

Contributions are tax-deductible.
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Thursday, December 22

Hurricane Tax Relief Plan Signed by Bush

President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation that provides $8.7 billion in tax breaks over 10 years for Gulf Coast businesses, a measure he said is part of the government's plan to help the region rebuild from destructive hurricanes. "This important bill will help the citizens of the Gulf Coast continue to put their lives back together and rebuild their communities in the wake of the devastating hurricanes that hit the region," Bush said before signing the legislation.

The measure, known as the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, sets up a special enterprise zone in the coastal area where businesses and jobs were destroyed after the August 29 storm.
The tax breaks for business investment are aimed at luring companies into the region and keeping those that are already there. Companies can use a tax credit to defray salaries if they kept employees on the payroll even while closed because of storm damage.
"This tax act provides incentives for people to move forward," said Bush, who met with business, labor and education officials to discuss ways to match willing workers with jobs in the region.

"This provides a great opportunity to make sure that the folks in Mississippi and Louisiana can find work," he said. "And those are the folks we want to be first in line, by the way. If you're from New Orleans, Louisiana, we want you to be the first person to get the job."
Last week, Bush pledged to rebuild New Orleans' shattered levee system taller and stronger than before Hurricane Katrina struck, requesting an additional $1.5 billion to buttress the system that failed and left the city flooded. On Tuesday, he extended full federal coverage of the cost of debris removal for Louisiana and Mississippi.

He said the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act will help small businesses in the affected area by doubling the expense deductions allowed for investments in new equipment to $200,000. The bill also provides a 50 percent bonus depreciation, which Bush said means tax relief for small businesses and businesses that buy equipment and build structures. Other portions of the bill offer special tax-exempt bond authority to rebuild ruined infrastructure, tax breaks to rehabilitate buildings and expanded tax credits to build more low-income housing in the region.

Some tax cuts would help defray the cost of demolition and cleanup, including a special deduction for cleaning up petroleum products and urban areas with environmental contamination known as "brownfields." Small timber operations and public utilities would get special aid. Students in Gulf Coast colleges and universities would see their education tax credits double.

Individuals hurt by hurricanes Rita and Wilma would get assistance already extended to victims of Hurricane Katrina. That includes expanded abilities to recoup casualty losses and withdraw retirement funds without penalty. The bill also incorporates some other unfinished tax business. It would extend an expiring law that lets soldiers count their combat pay toward the earned income tax credit, a benefit designed to pull low-income workers out of poverty.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
Read Article

Wednesday, December 21

Volunteers Try to Revive Live Oaks

by Brad Crocker,

David Minkler was watching Hurricane Katrina's fury on TV during a family reunion in Wyoming. A California resident for the past 20 years, he could not find out about his boyhood hometown of Pascagoula. He went to his mother's home four days after the Aug. 29 storm and could not believe what he saw when he was finally able to tour the devastation another six days later.

"It was heartbreaking," Minkler, 50, said. "It hurts you to see your hometown beat up like that. I could have never dreamed Beach Boulevard and Washington Avenue totally destroyed. I've known most of those people my whole life." Now Minkler, an arborist -- a tree care and maintenance specialist -- is getting his hands dirty trying to revive live oaks in Pascagoula and other communities damaged by Katrina.

Soil was laid Wednesday for approximately 300 live oaks in Pascagoula Beach Park and near the La Pointe-Krebs House, also known as Old Spanish Fort, built in 1721 and considered the oldest existing private building in the Mississippi Valley from that era. Minkler and other volunteers were also restoring nearly 200 oaks on the Martin Luther King Jr. Causeway. The next stops will be Gautier and Ocean Springs before work begins in seven other westward Coast communities.

With the help of a grant from the Home Depot Foundation -- which initiated the Live Oak Rescue Mission -- the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and volunteers are restoring soil, mulch, water and protective fencing for 600 to 700 live oaks across Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties. Home Depot Foundation dedicated its entire fourth-quarter donations to Hurricane Katrina recovery and is supporting other projects, said Kelly Caffarelli, the foundation's Executive Director.

"To see where all the man-made structures were destroyed and then to see all these beautiful trees that survived, we just had to do something," Caffarelli said. Katrina's historic storm surge stripped soil from the oaks' massive root systems and soaked them with saltwater. "Though live oaks are the most storm-resistant of our local trees species, even they could not fully withstand the 22- to 35-foot storm surges and scouring wave actions of Hurricane Katrina," said Judy Steckler, Executive Director of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
Minkler began his tree specialist career and tree care consulting business 16 years ago after a stint in San Francisco as a sailboat skipper. The live oak, which Minkler calls "a fabulous, beautiful tree," is similar in California and Mississippi. However, the saltwater exposure from Katrina and lack of rain after the storm brought unprecedented damage to the local species, he said.

"A regular rain cycle would be good for them, too," Minkler said. "But you've got people with open roofs and tarps still, and the last thing they need is rain."
Steckler said "the daunting project" is helping bring another semblance of normalcy to the post-Katrina Mississippi Coast. "We are grateful to the Home Depot Foundation, (which) understands that the tree canopy is an essential element of our rich heritage and crucial to the quality of life (here)," Steckler said.

"Through their role as sole funding source of the Live Oak Rescue Mission, they are an essential leader and community partner," said Steckler, also recognizing technical assistance from the Mississippi Forestry Commission and U.S. Forest Service, along with volunteers.
Pascagoula's beautification director Kevin Hall said the city will benefit greatly from the community partnership. "It's unbelievable what they're doing for us," Hall said. "It's a very big asset to the city of Pascagoula because these trees are really stressed out, and this soil will hopefully get them through the winter."

Minkler will continue helping family members get their homes restored and eventually move back to Pascagoula, which he was thinking about doing before Katrina. The storm's destruction helped him make his decision quicker. "I had to come back and help as long as it takes to get the city back on its feet," he said.

Reporter Brad Crocker can be reached at or (228) 934-1431.

Monday, December 19

MDEQ: In the Wake of Katrina

The magnitude of Hurricane Katrina presented the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) with unprecedented challenges. The storm and its aftermath created a host of problems that MDEQ had to respond to while immersed in a crisis situation with the familiar swept away. Traditional methods had to be altered and the changes needed to confront the storm and its effects required the efforts of the whole MDEQ staff. In addition, relationships with other state and federal agencies as well as local officials had to be forged or strengthened to ensure a cooperative effort.

The massive storm altered traditional emergency response methods. The lack of communication with local officials, other agencies, and MDEQ employees was not anticipated and changed how the first wave of MDEQ emergency responders did their job. The lack of communication for several days and the blockage of transportation avenues was an unexpected challenge. That being said, MDEQ personnel made every effort to visit high hazard facilities as soon as possible and worked with state and federal agencies to greatly
reduce the exposure of people and the environment to hazardous materials.

Fortunately, there were no major chemical spills or large scale damage to the environment. Throughout this effort, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency were of great assistance in Mississippi. MDEQ also received significant contributions from Florida’s law enforcement and environmental response teams in assessing damage in the area of hazardous materials. After the initial storm and the move to assess and contain any environmental spills, there were immediate environmental challenges including an unprecedented amount of debris, identification and disposal of hazardous materials, and restoring wastewater and drinking water systems. In partnership with the Mississippi Department of Health and local officials, MDEQ worked to get the wastewater and drinking
water systems operable.

Amazingly, within a week 58 percent of municipal wastewater systems in the affected counties were operable and by September 16th, 97 percent of them were operating - a vastly under-publicized success story that can be attributed to the hard work of state and local personnel.

The most overwhelming aftereffect of the storm is the accumulation of debris. It appears that the amount of disaster debris that will be removed and managed is greater than any previous storm event in our nation’s history. It is estimated that Hurricane Katrina resulted in 42 million cubic yards of debris in Mississippi with approximately 30 million cubic yards of that in the three coastal counties. This enormity caused MDEQ to quickly change its policies in managing and disposing of debris. Guidance in the burning and disposal of vegetative debris was quickly issued and MDEQ worked with local officials on its implementation. Also, MDEQ issued an Emergency Order to allow flexibility with some regulations.

This move was in keeping with the agency’s goals of protecting human health first and then preventing long-term detrimental effects on the environment. MDEQ and local officials have been cooperating on landfill sitings, guidance, permitting, and debris segregation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private contractors have been hired by local governments to remove the debris. It is estimated that the total removal and disposal process could last from one year to two years. Additionally, because of the mix of the debris, HAZMAT such as fuel drums and tanker trucks have continued to be discovered.

Under the arrangements of FEMA, local governments are generally the primary decision makers about how disaster wastes will be removed and disposed. Examples of managing and recycling debris and its challenges include:

• White goods and damaged automobiles must be collected. Prior to recycling with a metal salvage company, the white goods must be removed of foods, refrigerants, and other oils and chemicals. In addition, damaged automobiles will also have the automotive fluids and refrigerant removed prior to crushing and the automobiles will be hauled off to a metals salvage company.

• Vegetative debris in many areas is being chipped for use as fuel at wood-fired boilers or for use in landscaping and other agricultural applications. Vegetative debris in the coastal counties represents more than one-third of the wastes generated. In some instances, local governments have made the decision to burn the vegetative debris as a volume reduction measure. Much of the ash resulting from this controlled burning will be reused as a soil amendment.

• Structural metals, which includes framing and other metal building components are being pulled out of many of the debris piles and stockpiled for removal to a metals salvage company.

• Concrete and asphalt that has been removed from many damaged structures and parking lots is being staged at sites for crushing and processing to reuse and reclaim these materials.

• Waste tires are being segregated and removed from the mixed debris and are currently being stored until tire recycling companies can remove and process the tires.

• Household computers are being staged for removal and reclamation by national computer companies and recyclers. MDEQ also is continuing to pursue recycling options for television
sets and for other household electronics.

• MDEQ has developed an expedited permitting process for companies to establish temporary wet storage yards to stage recovered timber. These wet yards will allow the removal and interim storage of downed timber in the state for ultimate timber recovery.

Unfortunately, not all debris will be recycled. In many instances the debris is so contaminated or mixed that it cannot be recycled in a practical, cost-effective, safe, or expeditious manner. In addition, the cost of transporting some materials to recyclers or end users makes recovery of those items unfeasible. There are a myriad of challenges that faced the State of Mississippi and there are more to come as MDEQ aids in the reconstruction of an infrastructure, an economy, and an environment that absorbed a major blow. Cooperation and flexibility along with sensitivity to the human element are the foundation for working through crises.

Friday, December 16

Timber Wealth Management, Accounting, & Taxation Conference

The School of Accountancy at Mississippi State University (MSU) will present the Timber Wealth Management, Accounting and Taxation Conference January 23, 2006, at Pearl River Resort. The event's hours are 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Topics planned for discussion include "A Primer on the Sale, Purchase and Financing of Mississippi Timberland," "Woodlands Conservation Programs," "Casualty Losses on Timber and Other Current Tax Developments" and "Timber Pricing From the Ground Up." A sampling of presenters includes Powell "Gee" Ogletree Jr. and Jackie Walters Rozier, both of the Jackson law firm Adams and Reese, LLP; Alan Holditch, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority; and, Dr. Robert "Boo" Daniels, MSU Department of Forestry.

The conference will also include a breakfast, lunch, a panel discussion and a closing reception. Dress is business-casual.

The registration fee is $200 if received before January 9, 2006, and $225 after that date.

For more information, contact Tammy Prather at (662) 325-8029, or via e-mail at

Monday, December 5

Tree Restoration Program Launched

To help with tree restoration on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the National Audubon Society and The National Arbor Day Foundation have launched a special new campaign that will assist in the region's tree recovery efforts. Through the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, people across America will have the opportunity to replant trees in coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, and begin the reforestation of neighborhoods and cities across the region.

For every $10 donated to the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, the Arbor Day Foundation will contribute 10 trees to be planted by Katrina victims. Distribution of the trees will be managed by Audubon Mississippi's Coastal Project Office and its director, Dr. Mark LaSalle, who will work with Audubon chapters and other civic and community groups in the region to distribute the trees.
The tree species that will be distributed and planted in Mississippi and Louisiana include bald cypress, eastern redcedar, red maple and red oak. Audubon Mississippi's collaboration with The National Arbor Day Foundation is part of its overall initiative to promote the recovery of habitat for birds and other wildlife in areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, a project called Operation Backyard Recovery.

To contribute to the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, send to The National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, or contribute online at

Katrina Organics/Biomass Summit -- Jackson, MS -- December 6-7, 2005

The debris stream from Hurricane Katrina in the three Mississippi coastal counties consists of 65% structural debris and 35% vegetative/timber debris. Inland of the three coastal counties, the debris mix consists of 90% vegetative/timber debris and 10% structural debris (FEMA/USACE estimates). Katrina was still rated a Category I hurricane well over 100 miles inland of the coast and decimated much of the State’s southern forest lands. Initial estimates placed the volume of damaged timber in MS from Katrina at approximately 25% of the annual U.S. production, or approximately 19 billion board feet. There are many reasons to recover this organic material and to do so as expeditiously as possible, not the least of which is the need to minimize the environmental threat of catastrophic forest fires in the near future.

Tuesday, 12/6/05:
8:30 to 9:00 am
Welcome and Orientation (State Agencies, EPA)

9:00 to 9:30 am
Introductions (All)- Name; title; affiliation; brief background of biomass/organic materials expertise; summation of involvement with disaster debris

9:30 to 9:45 am
Ground rules (Facilitator)

9:45 to 10:30 am
Overview of Situation (State Agencies)

10:30 am to Lunch
(Full Group) - Consensus on break-out group focus areas; appointment of leader to re-state issue(s) for each break-out group and notetakers

Lunch (1-hour)
Break-out groups - Initial Assignment: Identify issues, potential solutions, obstacles & challenges, potential participants needed in future workgroups
Full group review & comment on break-out groups' Initial Assignment
Alternate: break-out group sessions and full group session, as needed to accomplish subsequent assignments

5:50 to 6:00 pm
Full Group - Plan for Wednesday (Facilitator)
6:00 pm - End Day 1

Wednesday, 12/7/05:
8:00 to 8:15 am
Full Group - Review today's plan and assignments for break-out groups
Alternate: break-out group sessions and full group session, as needed to accomplish assignments

Lunch (1 hour)
Post Lunch:
Alternate: break-out group sessions and full group session, as needed to accomplish assignments

4:00 to 5:30 pm
Full Group - Final presentations by break-out groups Identify post-Summit workgroup leaders (State) and co-leaders (State and/or other) Prioritize follow-up items (Facilitator) Logistics for Thursday's site visits (All who are planning to

5:30 pm - End Day 2
Thursday, 12/8/05:
8:00 am (or earlier) - Depart Jameson Inn for southern Mississippi organic debris processing site visits
INITIAL PRIMARY TOPICS FOR BREAK-OUT GROUPS (to be refined Tuesday morning as necessary)

economics (jobs, revenues, private landowner assistance, funding
mechanisms, contractual issues, etc.)
energy (end uses; technologies, feasibility, practicality,
sustainability, etc.)
land application/composting (end uses; infrastructure,
sustainability, etc.)
regulatory (initial group to identify 'laundry list' of potential
regulations involved with organics/biomass issues; may then disband
this group to merge into other break-out groups as Summit proceeds)
other - TBD