Friday, January 17, 2020

January 16 Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Mark Finley, Mike Henshaw, Allison Cochran, Zack Brannon, Maggie Johnston, Andrew Shea, and Johnna Franks
  • The February WCNRC meeting will be a site visit to Bill and Ann Self farm to determine potential for a Landowner Field Day.
  • The March meeting will be held at Camp McDowell on March 19.
  • Treasurer’s Report: Checks purchased in October for $38.33. Balance in checking is $8,629.33 
  • Camp McDowell working with Arley Schools and Women’s Club on a recycling program.
  • Camp McDowell working with Dr. Steve Jones on land use history and ownership of Camp McDowell and documenting old tree species on the property. Interest in borrowing an increment borer from someone and also finding historical aerial photos. Also working with Miss State on a study of the Johnston property as a reclaimed mine that’s been established to pine and hardwoods, including chestnut.
  • AFC is working primarily on prescribed burning this year, weather dependent.
  • Updates from the Alabama Rovers and Streams Network conference in Cullman last week. Highlight included a report by AFC on compliance with forestry BMPs. Very few complaints or issues reported from Winston County.
  • Mark Finley will attend the Treasure Forest board of directors meeting in February.
  • Byler Rd hike led by Joel Mize this Sunday, January 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Beulah Church near Mt. Hope.
  • AFA interested in working with us to host a Landowner Field day to include shortleaf pine and/or at risk aquatic species. Some members will visit Bill and Ann Self property and work on a field day.
  • Council agrees to support the Winston Co Envirothon Team, if needed, up to $500. We may also have resource specialists that could assist with team practice, if requested.
  • Mr. Heck’s FFA Forestry judging team also needs help for team practice.
  • Forest Service is actively prescribed burning, weather dependent, and has a few new seasonal employees to assist with burning and recreation. Timber Sales are on-going. Bald eagle survey on Smith Lake netted no eagles or nests. Representatives from the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative will visit in February to look at quail emphasis areas on the Bankhead.
  • Council reviewed ideas for Winston County Commission’s RAC proposal that Zack Brannon is working on. Many ideas were discussed.
  • There was discussion on mountain biking opportunities and potential development on the National Forest.
-Allison Cochran

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hike of Historic Byler Road on Jan. 19

Photo of article in the NorthWest Alabamian newspaper.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January Meeting

Hello Council,

The next meeting will be Thursday, January 16, at the Forest Service Office in Double Springs at 9:00 am. We hope you can attend.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Winston County Natural Resources Council Not Meeting in December

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will not meet in December.  We will resume our monthly meetings on Thursday, January 16th at the Bankhead National Forest office.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Alabama Water Watch Training in Double Springs


Show/Hide Details
Jan 22,2020 - Jan 23,2020    Time: 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Alabama Water Watch, in partnership with the US Forest Service, is excited to announce the launch of a new water monitoring project in the National Forests of Alabama! Volunteer citizens will gather water chemistry and bacteriological monitoring data on select stream locations within the National Forests of Alabama.
This 2-day workshop will be held on January 22 & 23, 2020.
Day 1 - Double Springs Municipal Building (23415 Highway 195 S, Double Springs, AL 35553)
1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Day 2 - Bankhead National Forest
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
This workshop will cover information related to the water environment, forests and watershed health, pollution, water quality standards, and data management. Workshop participants will be trained and certified in AWW Water Chemistry and Bacteriological Monitoring. During Day 2 of each workshop, participants will head outdoors to conduct monitoring practices and visit pre-selected monitoring sites on the National Forests. Participants must attend both workshop days to receive both certifications. Download or print and complete the Liability Form below and email to or mail to the AWW Program Office at 559 Devall Drive, Auburn University, AL 36849.

WCNRC November Meeting Minutes

Allison Cochran, Rollins Jolly and Mark Finley met briefly.

Zack dropped off some information and updates before running to another commitment.

Mark shared highlights from the Treasure Forest/Alabama Natural Resources Council meeting in Prattville.  They toured some interesting properties, including a longleaf straw raking operation.  He attended a session on how to have an active natural resources council at the local level.  He brought us back a guide with some great information.  It will be scanned to share with Council.  Lot of good ideas to grow and strengthen our organization and for workshop and field day planning.  Thanks to Mark for attending and sharing.    This information will be of great use for planning our 2020 Landowner Field Day, possibly at Bill Self’s and/or focusing on shortleaf pine.  Council needs to start planning that event before too long.

FAWN review – About 300 students attended FAWN and it was a success.  Zack shared thank you letters from the students.  Council can review and discuss ideas to improve FAWN in the future, if possible to meet curriculum needs if teachers give some input.  Additionally, would be good for council to discuss how to tweak the Payne Outdoor Classroom event to teach different material or target a different group of students.  There is some overlap noted between the two events.

Alabama Water Watch is hosting a training for citizens interested in conducting chemical and bacteriological water testing in the area, specifically in the Bankhead National Forest.  The training will be held at the Double Springs Municipal Building on January 22-23. Visit AWW online for more information.

Deer season is open and surveillance for Chronic Wasting Disease is on-going.  There is a freezer at the Bankhead office in Double Springs for people to place deer heads for testing.  Instructions and supplies are on site.

Zack shared several updates –

There is progress with Winston County Commission at the Mims property at Sipsey Fork and Hwy 33.  The county engineer is working on surveys and drawings at the location to improve the parking lot and emergency vehicle access and blocking the lower portion of the road to vehicular traffic to the river.  The County will include a project in their proposal to the Alabama Resources Advisory Council for funding for this project.  The County will be working with the Freshwater Landtrust and Mims family on this potential project for access to the river and for stabilizing and reducing erosion at the site.

There may be some FireWise funding available to the Cooperative Extension office for use in our county.  Council members should be thinking of ideas for FireWise projects, educational activities, materials, etc. 

We had discussion on the Rural Schools Act (in lieu of taxes) program that allows money from National Forests timber revenue to be accessed by Counties. FireWise is one title or funding mechanism of that program.  Projects funded under the other titles of that program are approved by the Alabama Resources Advisory Committee.  Council, Extension and others will work with Winston and Lawrence Counties on ideas for competitive proposals for those funds.  Project proposals are due to the Alabama Resources Advisory Committee in June this year.

We aren’t sure if the council usually meets in December.  Since there are no pressing agenda items for December, we might skip meeting that month. But, we will send an email and blog post out on whether or not there will be a December meeting.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Upcoming November Meeting

The next meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be Thursday, November 21, 9:00 am at the U.S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs. We hope you will be able to join us.