Friday, April 18, 2014

April Council Meeting and Tour Notes

Tour of young shortleaf stand on Bankhead National Forest.
The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs on April 17, 2014.  Present at the meeting were: Chris Wright, Mike Henshaw, Allison Cochran, John Creed, Carl Godsey, Tony Avery, Matthew Brock, Jeremy McDonald, Wade Hill, Tim Malone, and Dave Casey.
  • The council welcomed the newly appointed District Ranger, Dave Casey, to the council.
  • Allison gave a short report from the International Feral Hog Meeting that was recently held in Montgomery.  
  • The balance in the treasury is $10,603.53.
  • Mike Henshaw requested $200 for the Winston County 4-H Shooting Sports shotgun team that is attending the State 4-H Shotgun Championship.  Council approved this amount.
  • Jeremy McDonald requested funds for the May 7th Junior Ranger program at the Payne Creek Demo Area.  The council approved up to $125 for portable toilets, and up to $100 for bus transportation for Double Springs Elementary School students.
  • Shandy Porter is working on an Outdoor Classroom grant for the technical center.  It was suggested that he contact the Northwest RC & D Council.
The council then carpooled to several sites in the Black Pond and Moreland areas to view young longleaf and shortleaf pine stands.  Photos are available here:

Monday, April 14, 2014

April Council Meeting


Longleaf pine seedlings.  Photo by Ricky
Layson, Layson Photography, Bugwood.org

The April meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, April 17, at the
U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  We will have a brief meeting (15 minutes or so) and then will head out to visit some longleaf and shortleaf regeneration sites on the Bankhead.  These will be sites where stands have been successfully planted in recent years.  The purpose of these stops will be to see how these species are grown in this area, and how they might perform on private forestland.  We will carpool to the sites in Black Pond and Moreland and will return by lunchtime.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer


Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University,
Bugwood.org

All,

I just wanted to send you a few words of information concerning the Emerald Ash Borer.  This rather small insect arrived in Detroit, MI in 2002 from Asia.  Right now it is the fastest moving invasive in the US (See the map).  The quarantine line was re-drawn on 04/03/14 to include ALL of Kentucky.  This insect can fly about ½ mile from its host tree, BUT its #1 method of spread is the movement of infested firewood.  It is already in Gatlinburg, Knoxville, and Nashville.  I expect to find it in our northern State Parks and at the Talladega Super Speedway by 2015.
Check out this link: http://emeraldashborer.info/index.cfm#sthash.Qu5FgWiN.dpbs and the two attachments.  Please become familiar with this pest, so you can help your communities when they encounter it.  While ash does not occupy a large percentage of our forested canopy, it is the most valuable of our hardwoods.  Ash tends to occupy the wetter areas in the forest.  North facing slopes, as well as creek and riverbottoms, and lakeshores are prime ash habitat.  Blessings.

Andy

Andrew J. Baril, RF, CF (AL SAF 2014 Division Chairman)
Regional Extension Agent – Forestry, Wildlife, & NR
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Walker County Extension Office
1501 North Airport Road
Jasper, AL 35504
205.221.3392 office
205.388.6893 cell

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bankhead National Forest Has a New District Ranger - News Release from the US Forest Service

Dave Casey, Bankhead District Ranger
National Forests in Alabama Bankhead National Forest News Release Contact: Tammy Truett – 334-832-4470 For Immediate Release Bankhead National Forest Has a New District Ranger (Montgomery, AL) April 8, 2014---The Bankhead National Forest has a new district ranger. Steve Lohr, forest supervisor for the National Forests in Alabama, announced that Dave Casey has been appointed to the position of district ranger on the Bankhead National Forest in northwestern Alabama. In his new position, Casey undertakes responsibility for management of a variety of ecological projects and 27 Bankhead District employees who help administer the national forest and serve the public. Consisting of over 181,000 acres, the Bankhead National Forest is home to an abundant wildlife habitat and popular recreation sites. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Casey arrives in Alabama from a previous position as zone timber management assistant and silviculturist on the Cheoah and Tusquitee Ranger Districts of the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina. Casey previously served as an environmental specialist in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as well as other forestry positions in national forests in North Carolina. Casey has 10-years of federal government experience working with the USDA Forest Service. He graduated with a master of science degree in forestry from the University of Tennessee. He comes to Alabama with his wife and their three children, ages 6 to 10. “My family and I are excited about the new position and look forward to exploring the Bankhead National Forest and surrounding communities,” Casey said. “I plan to build on the solid foundation of quality management that has been a part of the Bankhead National Forest and to strengthen relationships with stakeholders,” he continued. “I believe we have the potential to do our best work when we collaborate with stakeholders who treasure the lands we manage.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

History of Alabama National Forests Presentation Planned


Here is an opportunity to learn about the history of the National Forests in Alabama. See flier at this link for more information.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting Scheduled

The quarterly meeting of the Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel is planned for Thursday, April 10th. The April meeting agenda focuses on feral swine. There will be updates on feral swine control programs and research projects including projects on the Bankhead National Forest, Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area and other areas across Alabama. The April 10th meeting will be held at the First National Bank in Double Springs. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm. Meetings of the Bankhead Liaison Panel are open to the public. Please call the Ranger District office at 205-489-5111 for more information.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Bats in Bankhead National Forest

(Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York 
Department of Environmental Conservation)
White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Bats in Bankhead National Forest Release Date: Mar 27, 2014 Double Springs, Alabama (March 27, 2014) -- The U.S. Forest Service has discovered White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in two bats collected recently in the Bankhead National Forest. The bats, which tested positive for WNS, were found in Armstrong and Backwards-Confusion Caves on the Bankhead National Forest. The specimens represent the first confirmed cases of WNS for Lawrence County, Alabama. White-Nose Syndrome is a disease characterized by fungal growth around the muzzle and wings of hibernating bats. First discovered in 2006, the disease spread rapidly from its origin in New York and is now as far south as Alabama and Georgia. WNS was confirmed in Alabama in 2012 with cases in Jackson County. The recent confirmed case in Lawrence County was the first discovery on national forests in Alabama. WNS has caused the death of almost six million bats that are an important part of forest ecosystems, helping to control forest and agricultural insect pests. According to Eric Schmeckpeper, acting district ranger of the Bankhead National Forest, the Forest Service issued a closure order for caves in all southern region national forests in May 2009 to proactively slow the spread of the fungus. The closure order remains active and includes caves in the Bankhead National Forest. “There is no known risk to humans from White-Nose Syndrome,” said Allison Cochran, a wildlife biologist for the Bankhead National Forest. “It is possible that people can spread the disease by inadvertently transporting fungal spores on clothing, footwear and gear that has been used in caves that have been infected,” added Cochran. Decontamination of clothing, footwear and gear can reduce accidental transmission of fungal spores. The Forest Service is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Department of Conservation, Alabama A&M University, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and others to reduce the spread of WNS. In the event that a member of the public spots an infected bat, they should notify the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources at 256-353-2634 with information about the location. Bats that may be encountered on the ground should remain undisturbed. Visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org to learn more about this wildlife epidemic. Bat Conservation Resources: • SRS Website - http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/compass/2014/01/23/slowing-the-spread-of-white-nose-syndrome-in-bats/ • White Nose Syndrome Website - www.whitenosesyndrome.org