Friday, August 21, 2009

Freshwater Jellyfish in Smith Lake

Kathy Potocsnak called me recently about a mystery organism that she'd found near her boat dock on Smith Lake. Since I couldn't recognize it from a verbal description, she brought one to the office. I made some photos and sent them to Rusty Wright, Extension Fisheries Specialist. Here's his response:

"Yep that is a freshwater jellyfish. I usually get 1-2 calls a year confirming the presence of these critters in our lakes and ponds. I think many times I'm settling a bet!

"Freshwater jellyfish,
Craspedacusta sowerbyi, is a non-native species originally from Asia. It is now common virtually globally. They eat small zooplankton but there is no evidence that they do any damage to our ecosystems. People see them most often from clear lakes, pools, and reservoirs: however they are also in more cloudy turbid water as well it is just that we can't see them as well in those systems.

"It is an interesting critter!"

Here's a link to the U. S. Geological Survey's web page about these jellyfish.

This jellyfish was actively swimming around in the jar. It would swim through the water for a few seconds, then it would pause and just float. After I made these photos, Kathy took the jellyfish back to the lake.

Thanks to Rusty for the identification of the photos, and to Kathy for bringing the freshwater jellyfish to our office.

Photos from the Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet

The WCNRC recently sent a delegation to the 2009 Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet to receive the Conservation Organization of the Year Award. While this has been noted in previous blog posts, I want to make one final post to share photos of the event. The Alabama Wildlife Federation hosts this event, and they have sent us a nice group photo. From left, front row, Bill Snoddy-landowner, Allison Cochran-U. S. Forest Service, Johnna Franks-Alabama Forestry Commission, Chris Wright-Alabama Forestry Commission, Mike Henshaw-Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Roger Hayes-Winston County Commisson, and Ken Sunseri-City of Haleyville. Back row, Tim Albritton-Natural Resource Conservation Service, Wade Hill-Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Tom Counts-U. S. Forest Service. If you click on the image above, a larger version is available.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation has an online photo album here.

Our photos of the event are online here.

Special thanks to Tim Albritton for nominating us for this award. It was an honor to be recognized at such a special gathering.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gypsy Moth Trapping

I have just completed picking up and checking 80 gypsy moth traps in Winston County. These traps are placed all around the county to monitor for the presence of the male gypsy moth. The chestnut-colored male and ivory-colored female moths are pictured on the right. While I found a couple of suspicious moths and sent them in for identification, they turned out to be harmless. This USDA trapping program is part of a larger effort across the United States to slow the spread of this pest of the hardwood forests. Click here for a brochure that gives an overview of the program. It is thought that this program can slow the inevitable arrival of the gypsy moth in this area by 75 to 150 years. The program has cut the spread rate from 13 miles per year to 3 miles per year. One reason that the spread rate for this moth is so slow, is that the female gypsy moth is unable to fly. Only the males can fly, so they cannot spread rapidly without human help. A common method of spread is egg cases hitching rides on vehicles. If a moth is found in this area, various control measures could be implemented to prevent a population from becoming successfully established. Here's a photo of one of the traps that I set out this year on a white oak tree.

Monday, August 17, 2009

WCNRC Regular Meeting, Thursday, August 20th

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will hold it's regular meeting on Thursday, August 20th at 9:00 a.m. at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs. Chris Wright, WCNRC chairman, says that the next FAWN program for Winston County 6th graders will be one of the main topics of the meeting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alabama Forest Supervisor Miera Nagy Congratulates the WCNRC

Miera Nagy, Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in Alabama, has written a letter congratulating the WCNRC for receiving the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Governor's Conservation Organization of the Year Award. Please click on the thumbnail image on the right to see her letter to us.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Article about Large Chestnut Tree Found in Alabama

Jean Allan, the District Archaeologist on the Bankhead National Forest, e-mailed me a link to an article in the Montgomery Advertiser about a large chestnut tree found in the Talladega National Forest.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Skeet Shoot to Benefit 4-H Shooting Sports

Want to practice your wing shooting before dove season?

This is the perfect opportunity to practice and support 4-H Shooting Sports in Winston and Cullman Counties.

There will be experienced instructors on the field if you would like some pointers on breaking the clays.

Cost will be $10.00 per round of 25. Bring your own shells or purchase them at the range. (7 1/2- 9 shot is recommended). There will be 2 age divisions. 18 and under, 19 and over. Prizes will be awarded, 25% to youth and 25% to adult winners. Proceeds from the shoot will benefit the 4-H Shooting Sports programs in Cullman and Winston Counties.

If you have never had the opportunity to shoot the game of skeet, come out and see the regulation field, and hone your skills for the upcoming hunting season. 4-H Shooting Sports volunteers will have concessions and lunch available, so come to spend some time on the new range and enjoy the day shooting.

Date: Saturday, August 22
Time: 9 am until 3 pm
Directions: Hwy 278 approximately 4 miles east of Addison. There will be signs on the highway or for more information call Kenny Robinson 256-566-9952 or Tim Robinson 256-566-3996