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Saturday, September 19, 2020
Important COVID-19 Employer Compliance Deadlines Next Week

Next week marks two key deadlines regarding the DOLI Safety and Health Codes Board Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19. Though COVID-19 ETS contains requirements for all employers within VOSH’s jurisdiction (, businesses with 11+ employees face two important deadlines next week.  

By next Friday, all Virginia businesses with 11+ employees must complete a VA COVID-19 Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. These same businesses must also complete training for their employees on the business' Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan by next Friday, September 25, 2020. Failure to comply with the ETS could result in fines that range from $13,000 to $135,000.

VFA has partnered with the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Manufacturing Skills Institute to provide online training for key employees responsible for overseeing member compliance with the regulation. Please visit the MSI COVID-19 Certification Program page for more information or to register. When registering, please select “Virginia Forestry Association” as your affiliation in the space provided. 

September 25th also marks the deadline for public comment on the Safety and Health Code Boards' effort to consider adopting the provisions of the ETS as a permanent standard. VFA intends to submit joint comments with its partners in the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy. 
General Assembly Special Session Update

The Virginia General Assembly’s special session, convened on August 18th to adopt a revised budget in light of COVID-19 and to address criminal justice measures, is now a month old and without a firm end date in sight. VFA has continued to track both budget implications and a number of employer regulations introduced during the special session. Here’s the latest on each:
  • Paid Quarantine Leave: Reiterating its position from earlier in the session, the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee overwhelmingly voted down a paid quarantine leave that emerged from the House on a party line vote. All but one Senate Democrat joined all committee Republicans in voting 14-1 to pass the issue by indefinitely. VPM Article: Virginia Senators Spike Paid Quarantine Leave
Virginia Department of Forestry Requesting Help Collecting Nuts and Acorns

"As part of a tree planting program, the Virginia Department of Forestry is seeking 12 species of acorns and nuts that can be planted at its Augusta Forestry Center, read a news release from the VDOF.

Each year, VDOF asks the public from across the state to collect and donate nuts of select species to be planted at the state nursery in Crimora, Virginia."

For the full article from the Bristol Herald Courier, click here


Forestry Scientist John Seiler Reappointed as Alumni Distinguished Professor

“John Seiler is the embodiment of a teaching scholar,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “His quest for excellence in everything he does touches all parts of our land grant mission each and every day, from the classroom to research and graduate education to his service to the public. John is a devoted teacher-mentor, an inquisitive and competitive research scholar, and has a zeal for bringing knowledge of trees and forests to the public.”
For the full article from Virginia Tech Daily, click here.


Martinez Named to Lead Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service

"Dr. Edwin Martinez-Martinez will begin serving as Virginia’s 10th state conservationist on Sept. 14, with oversight for all USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs and services in the Commonwealth.

The Puerto Rico native began his career with NRCS in 2005, as a soil conservationist student trainee in Nebraska and Puerto Rico. His experience as a trainee led to positions as a soil conservationist in Northern California and a district conservationist in Michigan."
For the full article from the Augusta Free Press, click here.


Statewide Fall Forestry, Wildlife Tours Planned

"In its 44th year, the Fall Forestry and Wildlife Bus Tour has become a fall tradition for many of Virginia’s outdoor enthusiasts and forest landowners, and one of the state’s four tours will be meeting in Halifax County this year.

All the necessary COVID-19 safety measures and protocols will be adhered to in order to make this event safe for everyone."
For the full article from the Gazette Virginian, click here.


UVA Engineers Aim to Design Sensor Network to Detect Forest Fires

"As wildfires burn thousands of homes and businesses along the West Coast, a team of engineers at the University of Virginia are working to design a sensor network that can detect a wildfire as quickly as it starts.

'The goal is that these detectors will detect when a forest fire begins, it will relay that information to the firefighters almost instantly,' said Jay Sheth, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical and computer engineering at UVA School of Engineering. 'The biggest advantage of doing this is when the forest fire begins, it spreads really fast, so the quicker you let the firefighters know a fire has started, the quicker they can extinguish it and they can prevent tragedies from happening.'"
For the full article from CBS 19 News, click here.
Lawsuit: EPA Fails To Enforce Chesapeake Bay Pollution Caps
CBS 19 News - September 14, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency has failed to ensure that Pennsylvania and New York are doing enough to reduce pollution that flows from farms and cities...MORE

Troubled Timber Market Hampers Wildfire Efforts
E&E News - September 15, 2020

Efforts by the Forest Service to clear the woods of potential wildfire fuel are bumping up against troublesome headwind in the timber market: The material coming out...MORE

Climate Change Is Not The Only Reason For Record Wildfires
NPR - September 16, 2020

The wildfires on the West Coast are again putting the spotlight on climate change. But it is not the only reason why we are seeing such destruction, even in the iconic...MORE

As Wildfires Burn Out of Control, the West Coast Faces the Unimaginable 
New York Times - September 16, 2020

As American chestnut trees were dying, the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway sprang to life. It was 1914, and blight was decimating chestnut trees in hardwood forests from...MORE

40 Years of Forestry and Logging - September 9, 2020

Suddenly you realize that time has passed. It can make you wonder; “How did that happen?” It can also make you wonder; “What happened?” That´s a good...MORE

Pandemic DIY Projects Help Construction Materials Industry Flourish
NPR - September 7, 2020

All across the country, there's a lot of construction going on in backyards, basements and spare rooms. As homeowners pour money and energy into their properties...MORE

Parkway Closed? Roanoke Invites Travelers to Stop in for a Beer, Food, Shopping
Roanoke Times - September 13, 2020

ll-timed road failures on the Blue Ridge Parkway are blocking access to several seasonally popular drives for seeing the Roanoke Valley in fall splendor...MORE

September 23, 2020 - Waynesboro Webinar Series with Trees VA: Green Industry in the Woods & Weeds

Do you have clients with some woods or maybe clients with expansive yards that they might like to convert to wildlife habitat? Join experts Adam Downing and Joe Lehnen as they help you navigate the answers to these questions in this free 1-hour workshop. 

September 25 and October 2, 2020 - Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

Spend 15 minutes in the forest with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension Foresters each Friday at noon to learn about timely forestry topics.

September 29, 2020 - Seasonal Invasive Plant Workshops

Spend the afternoon with Blue Ridge PRISM learning about non-native invasive plants and how to confidently identify and manage them.
October 2, 2020 - Logging Safety Seminar

Don't miss this great safety training scheduled for October 2, 2020 at the Virginia Antique Truck & Tractor Museum.  Attendance is limited and you must register. Click here for more details.  Eligible for SHARP Logger and SAF continuing education.
Copyright © 2020 Virginia Forestry Association, All rights reserved.
The VFA Voice

Our Contact Info:
3808 Augusta Ave
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 278-8733

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