SOD Blitz 2021

Dear fellow SOD Blitzers:

The 2021 Sudden Oak Death Blitz will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 15, 16 and 17 in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County. The preceding Friday May 14 and following Tuesday May 18 are additional pickup and drop-off dates for your survey packages. This year’s event will be run similar to last year with Covid precautions so there will be no in-person meetings. Required training will be online and all materials will be picked up and dropped off in bins outside of either SLO or Templeton Agricultural Dept buildings. One difference is that I will be outside at the SLO Ag pickup site on Saturday from 10 to 11 am if anyone wants some additional help in person but make sure to wear a mask. Follow other Covid precautions such as staying at least 6 feet away from other people not in your household and washing hands, and be careful driving and parking along county roads.

Go to this SLO SOD event website to start the process of registering and then follow the links there to: 

  1. required training on the statewide SOD Blitz site; 
  2. Google Earth map of recommended survey locations in SLO County; and 
  3. a spreadsheet to enter the route/locations you intend to survey in SLO County. By entering your intended survey route on this spreadsheet, we should avoid multiple people sampling the same route. 

We apologize that you must complete several steps and visit several links but that is the best way we can coordinate this survey without meeting in person. The SLO SOD event website gives addresses and the specific outside location of the bins at the SLO and Templeton Ag Dept buildings.

We recommend you repeat a route(s) you sampled in the past if possible since you will be familiar with the actual locations of bay and tanoak trees there. We are sending this notice out today to folks who have surveyed or indicated interest in past years so you can sign up soon for your repeat routes before newcomers sign up. We will be advertising the event more widely in a few days. 

In the past two years, the SOD pathogen has been picked up in water samples in San Simeon and Santa Rita Creeks, but so far, we haven’t found the trees which are shedding spores into the creeks. Since the SOD pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, is not expected to survive over long periods in water, the spores are probably falling into the creek from nearby infected tree leaves and the hunt is on to find those trees in north county.

In addition, a new variant of the SOD pathogen was detected in northern California in 2020. Since this new strain (EU1) is a more aggressive pathogen and readily infects some conifers, samples collected in the SOD Blitz this year will be tested for variant types.

If you have any questions or need help, feel free to contact either:

The attached flyer repeats most of this information if you wish to share it with other people or post on your organization’s social media.
Thank you for participating in this citizen science survey which is contributing important information about Sudden Oak Death.
Cindy Roessler
Sightings and seasonal changes on the Dipper Ranch,

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