Thursday, July 16, 2015

Minutes of the July Meeting of the WCNRC

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on July 16, 2015, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were James Burnett, John Creed, Allison Cochran, Andy Baril, Mike Henshaw, and John Sudduth.
The following items were discussed:

  • Johnna Franks, treasurer, emailed the balance in the treasury, and it is $5,633.57.
  • The Council helped sponsor the Winston County 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Teams.  There were two junior teams and one senior team that attended from Winston County.  The senior team placed second in the state competition in Auburn.  Congratulations to the team, and thanks to their parents, volunteers, and Jay Conway, 4-H Foundation Agent.
  • James gave an update on the heat advisories from the U. S. Weather Service.  He noted that the heat index is predicted to reach 102 degrees by 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.  He recommended that we check on anyone working outside in this heat.
  • A feral hog trapping demonstration at an Addison farm resulted in five hogs being captured.  Thanks to Matt Brock for transporting the trap and providing technical assistance to the landowner.  This effort no doubt prevented damage to the farmers vegetable crops.
  • Allison said that about 90 feral hogs have been controlled on the Bankhead this year.
  • Jonathan Stone has been promoted to Lieutenant with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  He will be supervising conservation enforcement officers in several counties and is based out of the district office in Tanner, Alabama.
  • Andy said the date for the Walker County Logger Training will be on September 16, 2015, at Bevill State College, and will include 6 PLM credits.  He will send a flyer as soon as it is available.
  • A Certified Burn Manager Course will be held at Camp McDowell August 11-14, 2015.  A re-certification workshop will be held on August 10. More information is on the AFC website.
  • Allison said that the Forest Service will have two stewardship contracts that will be held soon.  They are recruiting local individuals that can provide services such as logging, gate installation, invasive plant control, etc. to bid on these contracts.
  • James gave an update on debris removal during severe weather outbreaks.  Contracts are put in place before the emergency so that services can begin sooner after the storm event.
  • Allison noted that there are two remote weather stations in Winston County, one at John and Mary Sudduth's Farm, and another at the Black Warrior Work Center.  James said that the County Commission was working on getting one near the courthouse in the near future.
  • John Sudduth brought flyers for the TREASURE Forest tag that will be available at no charge the first year.  More information is available about the tag at this link.
  • Possible tour of the barrel plant in Decatur, and the barrel stave mill in Stevenson.  Andy is going to try to find a contact for the tour.  These mills use white oak to construct wooden barrels.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July Meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Great Article about LaVerne Matheson

LaVerne Matheson accepts the Rise to the Future, National Hydrology, and Soil Science Award, from USDA in Washington, D. C., on behalf of Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy, Inc.

Laverne was a steady member of the Winston County Natural Resources Council, and we could always count on his support.

Read more about LaVerne's work in this article on the Alabama Water Watch blog:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Minutes of June Council Meeting

The June WCNRC meeting was held on June 18, 2015, at the U. S. Forest Service office in Double Springs.  The following members were present:  Matt Brock, Jeremy McDonald, Mike Henshaw, James Burnett, and John Creed.  The following items were discussed:
  • Shortleaf Pine field day - several things were noted that could be changed to improve future field days, but overall, we thought it was a very good event.  The unusually hot weather was tough on the older age demographic that attended the field day.  According to Allison, the total registration number was 87 people.
  • Allison sent word via email the Youth Fishing Derby was very successful.  She reported on the derby in this blog post.  She noted that 64 kids attended the fishing derby, 350 lbs of catfish were stocked.  The kids caught lots of fish.  Total cost was $1,778.83, of that, the Forest Service spent - $750 on fish and toilet; NWTF gave a $250 donation, and the WCNRC spent $778.83.  
  • Jeremy reported on several activities.  The Payne Creek Outdoor Classroom had about 85 students that visited recently.  The council sponsored this group by covering the cost of the bus transportation.  They also had a group of University of Alabama students that visited on another date.  Jeremy has also assisted with the setup for the FFA Forestry Judging for Winston County students and offered to assist county Agriscience instructors with training the teams.
  • Davey Casey has relayed information that the Resource Allocation Committee is in the process of being established.  The council will be able to apply for Title II funds when the application process is opened.
  • Mar-Jac Poultry Prospective Grower Meeting in Russellville on June 23.  Mar-Jac is expanding its northwest Alabama operations and plans to build 100-125 new poultry houses.
  • Matt said that he used the council's hog trap put on a trapping demonstration for about 30 Fayette County landowners.  He will take the trap to an Addison landowner in a few days.  He will help the landowner set up the trap and provide technical assistance.  Andy noted that fruit-bearing blackberry patches were a good place to locate a hog trap, because the fruit are very attractive food for them.  Jeremy said that feral hogs appear to be expanding southward in the county.
  • The WMA is having an early gun season this year in response to the early breeding season of the deer there.  The dates for the hunt are November 13-14.  The limit will be one deer per day on the WMA this year.  Matt reported that he has been seeing more deer on the WMA this year, and James confirmed he had noticed higher numbers as well.
  • Discussion about deer habitat, unantlered deer harvest, and fawn depredation, on the WMA and private land.
  • Andy said Walker County would be hosting logger training at Bevill State College again this year in September.
  • Buckmasters Expo will be held in Montgomery on August 14-16. The Winston County Shotgun Team will be attending to compete in the 4-H Shotgun event.
  • James said that cutbacks are being considered for the U. S. Weather Service.  These cutbacks would include closing many state weather offices and issuing weather forecasts from six regional offices instead.  If the cuts were made, Alabama weather forecasts could come from Weather Service offices one or two states away.
  • James said that State budgets for the Emergency Management Agency have not been finalized, but deep cuts are being considered that would limit future grants to the EMA and could close many county EMA offices.  The legislature will go into special session later this summer to pass State budgets.
  • Matt Brock and his wife have a five week-old daughter, Savannah Elizabeth, and Matt said she is doing very well.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kids Fishing Derby

2015 Kids Fishing Derby

The Bankhead National Forest held the 23rd annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday, June 13 in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week and National Get Outdoors Day. The Forest Service, which hosts the yearly event to help interest young people in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation, stocked a pond with about 350 pounds of catfish and invited area youngsters to try their luck.  The highlight of this year’s Derby was the National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Jakes Take Aim” Shooting Booth.  All children received a free membership to the NWTF’s Jakes club and a fishing derby t-shirt complements of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

Over 60 children (with accompanying adults) from surrounding counties came to the Black Warrior Work Center on the Bankhead National Forest to compete for trophies in three age categories. Contestants fished for approximately 1 ½ hours and the winners in each age group were decided by measuring the longest fish caught by each individual.

The largest fish overall was caught by Tylie Romero of Houston.

In the 5-6 year old age group, Robert Gilmore of Houston took the first place trophy.  Molly McDonald of Haleyville captured second place.

Braden Luker of Addison won the first place trophy in the 7 - 9 year old group.  Nena Garrison of Double Springs won the second place trophy.

In the 10 – 12 year old category, John Linley of Halyeville took the first place trophy and Tucker Beck of Nauvoo took the second place trophy. 

In addition to the fishing competition, a casting contest was held in which Tyden Steele of Houston won in the 5 – 6 year old division; Jon Hess of Haleyville won in the 7 – 9 year old division; and Brilyn Dover of Addison won the 10 – 12 year old division.  All three received a new rod and reel and tackle box as their prize. 

The Derby concluded with drawing for door prizes, awarding of trophies to contest winners and a hotdog lunch.  This year’s event was funded by a grant to the Winston County Natural Resources Council from the Winston County Commission, a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the US Forest Service.  Sponsors of the 2015 Kids Fishing Derby include the Double Springs Lions Club, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Sipsey Strutters Moulton Chapter and Bankhead Beards and Spurs Winston County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, Winston County Natural Resource Council, and the Bankhead National Forest. 

A big “THANK YOU” from Smokey Bear to everyone who continue to help make the Kids Fishing Derby a great success.

June Council Meeting

The June meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, June 18, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Mike Henshaw, Secretary