WCNRC Meeting 6/20/19
Zack Brannon, Andy Baril, Andy Scott, John Creed and Allison Cochran
* Andy Baril is working on landowner pond visits.
Walker County will be hosting a forestry workshop at Bevill on 9/11; flyer forthcoming.
The ACNRC N Region Landowner Tour will be in Fayette, but no date is set yet.
Fishing Derby was a success, thanks to all that participated and made it happen. NWTF donated $550. $579 dollars of WCNRC funds from Winston Co Commission Firewise Ed Fund were used. NWTF’s check for $500 wouldn’t work, so Allison paid with WCNRC fund and NWTF will pay WCNRC $500. Allison used NWTF’s $50 cash on prizes at Wal-mart. All receipts are sent to Johnna and NWTF chapters for purchases of food and prizes and supplies. Forest Service spent about $1100 on fish and portable toilet. Gateway donated some drinks which help offset costs. We have a few leftover prizes that will be used for next year.
* Keep eyes out for cogongrass and report to AFC and ALDOT. Bankhead found a big spot on the Forest in Black Pond and will treat this summer. Andy B is using EDmaps to report spots he is seeing which goes to Auburn.
Alabama Bat Working Group will hold a Bats and Forests workshop for natural resource professionals in Heflin on 9/10. More info to come.
Ala Bat Working Group also held their Annual Bat Blitz in June in Hamilton and we worked closely with Marion County AFC.
Zack is already thinking about FAWN and talked to School Board, although we won’t set a date with them until school is back in session.
* Andy Scott is taking a 2 month detail to Mississippi’s National Forests and Blake Addison will be the Bankhead Acting District Ranger in that time.
Bankhead has been working in Southern Pine Beetle Mitigation/Prevention mode for the last few years. In the next few years, we will be moving into more longleaf restoration work to respond to America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative and an increased Forest Service regional challenge for more acres of longleaf pine woodlands.
Roads on the Bankhead are in the shape they are in due to weather and a number of other factors. We are hoping road maintenance will begin this summer.
Andy shared that in last year’s herbicide site preparation and non-native invasive species contract, we lost the hardwood reserve trees on about 300 or so acres due to a combination of factors. For this year, we are making contract changes to take corrective action.
The Slick Ford timber sale is completed and in our longleaf restoration area. He encouraged folks to visit the area and see the quality work going on down there in Black Pond.
* Zack shared that Mike Henshaw attended the Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee meeting and funding won’t be awarded this year, but will be awarded in October 2020. The application deadline is June 2020. The council discussed several ideas, including trails and recreational access with partners and that we would work together in advance of the deadline to pull partners and ideas together.
* Andy Baril asked about the Recreation Working group and decisions on future direction for recreation on Bankhead with input from the stakeholders. Andy Scott responded that essentially Bankhead will start a “Trails” NEPA project to address issues and will need partnerships to help manage. At Caney Creek waterfall, he is expecting a full recreation site type trail and will look at other areas like Soughahogdee, Payne Creek and Sipsey Trail to designate as trails and manage. The Houston renovation to tent camping is on the slow burner. We have put in proposals to remove infrastructure, like bath houses, at Brushy Lake and Houston.
There was discussion on the Alabama Trail, an effort led by the Alabama Hiking Trail Society and how it might connect with Bankhead and take pressure off of the Sipsey Wilderness.