Thursday, December 4, 2014

Planting Small Grains for Fish Habitat Improvement on Smith Lake

Alabama Power and U. S. Forest Service cooperated on fish habitat improvement project on Smith Lake.  This project involved planting small grain grass seed on soil exposed by low water levels on the lake.  If successful, the grass seed will grow and establish a stand of grass.  When water levels rise in the spring, the grass will be submerged and will provide macroinvertebrates and fish with valuable habitat.  More photos of the project are at this link.  These photos were made at the Houston Recreation Area boat ramp.

Loading pontoon with mulch, fertilizer, sticker,lime, and seed.

Mulch material.

Spraying mulch seed mix.

Joe Songer,, photographs the mulching operation.

Seed and mulch after application to bares soil.

Small grain seed embedded in the mulch.

Mike Clelland, Alabama Power, holds a photo of a successful planting that
has been flooded by rising water.  The submerged grass provides valuable
fish habitat.

Photo of successful planting before flooding.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council November meeting was held at the Alabama Forestry Commission office in Double Springs, on November 20, at 9:00 a.m.  Present were:  Johnna Franks, James Burnett, Tim Webb, Tom Grubbs, Mike Henshaw, and Chris Wright.  The balance in the treasury is $5,805.24.  The following items were discussed:
  • Kudzu bugs in Winston County.
  • Program on herbicides and invasive plants will be held on February 6, 2015, in Cullman, and it will have six hours of professional logging manager points.  Further details will be available soon.
  • 4-H Pig Squeal project for Winston County 4-H'ers.
  • $1,000 Sponsorship of FAWN program from Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.  Thanks to Ernie Stephens for helping secure these funds for FAWN.  
  • Cogongrass program is available to landowners with small patches (less than 0.5 acre) of cogongrass.  Chris said that the backpack sprayer and herbicides were being stored at the AFC office.
  • Tom Grubbs and Tim Webb spoke about the possibility of adding a 911 learning station at FAWN.  It was agreed that a 911 station would be a good addition to the program and the council will look at the possibility of adding it when working up the 2015 FAWN schedule.
  • Chris Wright is taking a position with the Walker County Forestry Commission office and will be transferring soon.  Chris's move will be a loss for the WCNRC and will leave a vacancy in the Chairman position.  
  • A Technician position will be filled at the Winston County Forestry Commission office soon.
  • No December Council meeting.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November Council Meeting - New Location

The November meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, November 20, at the Alabama Forestry Commission Office, 225 Coats Street in Double Springs.  Please see map below for the office location.  It is located at the #1 dot on the map.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cogongrass Assistance Available in Winston and Marion Counties

Cogongrass seedhead.
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan,
Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District has received a grant from the Northwest Alabama
Resource Conservation & Development Council to assist landowners with the eradication of cogongrass.  Cogongrass is an invasive species.  It spreads by both wind-blown seeds and underground creeping rhizomes.  It is the most unwanted of all plant species in Alabama, worse than kudzu or privet.  It is usually found in small (less than 20 foot diameter) patches. Cogongrass was accidentally introduced into Alabama near Grand Bay about 1911 as seed in packing materials from Japan.  It is gradually making its way into our area.
One key identifying feature is the production of fluff, white, plume-like seedheads in early spring.  It is an opportunistic plant and can be found in forests, pastures, orchards, rights-of-way and waste areas.
For patches that are less than ½ acre in size the landowner can get assistance through this program for the area that needs to be treated.  If the patch is larger than ½ acre an application can be completed through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) administered through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
If you think you have a patch of cogongrass do not mow through or near the area because this will aid in dispersing the seeds.  Do not do any soil work such as disking because this will aid in carrying fragments of roots to other areas.  Do not attempt to burn in areas with cogongrass before consulting with the Alabama Forestry Commission.  Any equipment that comes in contact with an infestation of cogongrass should be thoroughly cleaned.
Landowners in Marion and Winston counties should contact the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District or Natural Resource Conservation Service at 205-921-3103 ext. 3, Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District at 205-489-5227, the Alabama Forestry Commission at 205-921-3843 or 205-489-5014 or the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service at 205-921-3551 or 205-489-5376 if cogongrass is found on their property.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Photos from FAWN Program

Allison Cochran with the U. S. Forest Service has shared some of her photos from the FAWN program at Houston Recreation Area.  Here's a link to a photo album of her photos.  This year we had approximately 336 sixth graders from Winston County schools.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Minutes of October Council Meeting

Standing: Quinn Wood, David Brown, Jeremy McDonald, Wade Hill, 
John Sudduth, and James Burnett.  Seated:  Renee Smith, Chris Wright,
 LaVerne Matheson, Carl Godsey, and John Creed.
The Winston County Natural Resources Council meeting was held on October 16, 2014, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were: LaVerne Matheson, Carl Godsey, John Creed, David Brown, Mike Henshaw, James Burnett, Quinn Wood, Chris Wright, John Sudduth, Wade Hill, Renee Smith, and Jeremy McDonald.

Items discussed were:
  • FAWN Program details.  Dates are FAWN walk thru - Wednesday, October 22, at 9:00 a.m., FAWN for Meek, Addison, and Double Springs - Thursday, October 23, at 9:00 a.m.  FAWN for Lynn and Haleyville - Friday, October 24, at 9:00 a.m.
  • LaVerne reported on the Clean up on Smith Lake held on October 9.  He said that 6.5 tons of debris where removed from the lake.  About 25 people participated in the effort.  Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy's Facebook page has photos of the cleanup 
  • Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. is placing signs at boat ramps and other access points that there is a $250 fine for littering on the lake.
  • John Sudduth attended the TREASURE Forest Conference.  The TREASURE Forest Association has teamed up with the Alabama Farmers Federation.  The group has a new car tag program that promises to be very popular, since the special TREASURE Forest tag will be provided at no cost.  He also noted that there will be a effort to recruit new TREASURE Forest owners into the program.
  • Jeremy McDonald said there would be a Bankhead Liaison Panel meeting on Thursday, October 16, at 6:00 p.m., at the First National Bank in Double Springs.
  • Carl said that the Winston County Farmers Federation Womens Committee was sponsoring a political forum on October 21, at 6:00 p.m. at the Bernice Hilton Walker Building in Double Springs.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary WCNRC