County of Marin - News Releases - Sudden Oak Death

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2015

Help Researchers Map Sudden Oak Death in Marin

On May 30, get trained to recognize and document the disease

Novato, CA – Experts monitoring the progress of sudden oak death in Marin County are appealing for volunteers to help map the spread of the disease on a local scale.

A close-up view of a leaf showing signs of sudden oak death syndrome.On Saturday, May 30, the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and partners are hosting an informational meeting at Dominican University of California to recruit people to track the spread of sudden oak death. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. in Room 102 of the university’s Joseph Fink Science Center in San Rafael. Participants are urged to park in the main general campus parking area at the corner of Grand and Acacia avenues, adjacent to the Conlan Center.

Sudden oak death is an exotic disease that threatens and kills native oaks and tanoaks. Infected trees are located all over Marin. The mapping effort, called SOD Blitz, is a volunteer-based survey taking place all over Northern California that provides valuable data to researchers trying to better understand the disease.

“This promises to be another dry year, and these are the perfect conditions to identify key trees in which the pathogen survives,” said Janice Alexander, an outreach coordinator with UCCE. “Their removal may be extremely beneficial to lowering disease levels. The SOD Blitz helps us with accurate mapping of infection risks.”

Researchers from Dominican and the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory will lead the training, at which participants will learn how to recognize the symptoms of sudden oak death and how to collect specimens. Trainees are to fan out around Marin and collect leaf samples within three days of the May 30 event and return specimens to a pre-established collection point. Participants will be urged to download the SODmap, a free mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets that allows for viewing of the distribution of sudden oak death. The app automatically updates the reference database when new points are added to the SODmap.

UC Berkeley researchers will analyze the SOD Blitz results and publish the results on

UCCE programs operate through a unique partnership with the County of Marin, the University of California, the federal government and private funds.  More information can be found on Marin’s UCCE website.


David Lewis
Farm Advisor
Office of the Farm Advisor / University of California Cooperative Extension

1682 Novato Blvd.
Suite 150B
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 473-4204
Email: David Lewis
Marin UCCE website