Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chemistry Water Monitoring Training Workshop Conducted on Smith Lake

Alabama Water Watch Staff and volunteer instructors conducted a Chemistry Water Monitoring Training Workshop at the Smith Lake Civic Association Building and Duncan Bridge Marina.  Special thanks to volunteer instructors Larry Barkey with Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. and John Kulbitskas with the Smith Lake Civic Association.  Nine volunteers were certified and seven additional volunteers were re-certified.  Certified Chemistry Water Monitoring volunteers can submit water testing data to the Alabama Water Watch database so that water quality trends can be tracked over time.  Volunteers were trained to test water pH, total hardness, total alkalinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Thanks to everyone that took part to make the training a success.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quail Forever Chapter

A new North Alabama chapter of Quail Forever will hold a membership banquet on Tuesday, August 31 at the Decatur Elks Lodge at 6:30 PM. Tickets, which include a one year membership in Quail Forever, cost $40. The banquet includes dinner, music by the Trinity Mountain Boys, and fund-raising raffles and live auction. A number of local conservation organizations will be on hand to provide information on quail habitat conservation and restoration. If you would like more information, contact Kevin Terry at kevin.terry (at)

Bankhead Liaison Panel

The Bankhead Liaison Panel's Restoration Monitoring Team has scheduled a field trip for Tuesday, July 27 to review forest stands in the Forest Health and Restoration Project that will be restored to hardwood forest and hardwood woodland. Recommendations will be made on treatments to achieve the restoration objectives. The field trip will begin at 8:00 at the Black Warrior Work Center.

The Bankhead Liaison Panel will meet at 5:00 PM on July 29 at the Moulton Recreation Center. The agenda includes updates on the Compartment 90, 91, 101 Timber Sale Contract and future stand improvement projects; remaining forest stands in the Forest Health & Restoration Project to be restored to hardwood forest; an Alabama A&M University research project on recreation on Bankhead National Forest; and an Alabama A&M University research proposal for a meteorological tower on Bankhead.

Members of the public interested in the management of Bankhead National Forest are invited to attend both meetings.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AFC Announces Sign-Up Dates for Prescribed Burning and Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant

If you own 250 or less forest acres in Alabama, are interested in control burning 10-80 acres or mulching up to 5 acres, and are not enrolled in another cost-share program, you may be eligible for a new grant. Your chances of receiving these grant monies are even greater if you’ve never previously performed hazardous fuel reduction on your property.
The Alabama Forestry Commission has been selected to administer the Prescribed Burning and Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program. Private, non-industrial landowners may enroll all or a portion of their property into the program for fuel reduction. The sign-up period for the program is July 15 through August 27, 2010. Landowners can apply for the program by printing and completing the application which is available through their local Alabama Forestry Commission office or online at the AFC website:
Utilizing prescribed burning and mechanical mulching, this grant program is designed to assist rural landowners and residents in the wildland urban interface reduce the potential risk and devastation from wildfire.
Prescribed burning is fire applied in a skillful manner under exacting conditions to a specific area for a definite forest management objective. Prescribed fire is a way to mimic the natural occurrence of fire in southern pine uplands. Mulching or chipping are methods used to reduce understory and ground vegetation with portable equipment. These methods are utilized in urban settings where smoke from prescribed burning may pose a problem.
By being proactive and taking some simple precautions, you may reduce the impact of a wildfire on your home or forestland through this program.
For more information or interview, contact:
Lea Anna Meadows at  (334) 240-9326, 
Steve May at (334) 240-9322,

Wildlife School Planned

The "Wildlife School" is a land management training seminar for landowners and land managers interested in managing wildlife on their property. During August 26 - 27, the Wildlife School will be held at Gadsden State Community College in Centre. The Wildlife School is hosted by the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts. A flyer with more information is available at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Minutes July Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were:
James Burnett, LaVerne Matheson, Allison Cochran, Mike Henshaw, Tom Counts, Carl Godsey, Lorenzo Walton, Jim Hughes, Kerry Clark, Chris Wright, Elrand Denson, and Stephanie Love.

Chris Wright, Chairman, conducted the meeting.  The Council discussed the following topics:
  • Rock Creek Watershed Management Grant-LaVerne Matheson, WCSLAI.
  • Alabama Water Watch Volunteer Testing Classes in Winston County, Mike Henshaw, ACES.
  • Land Slide in Smith Lake-LaVerne Matheson.
  • Certificate of Appreciation to the WCNRC from the Bankhead National Forest for assistance with the Youth Fishing Derby-Allison Cochran, USFS
  • Youth Fishing Derby Grant and FAWN Grant-James Burnett, Winston County Emergency Management.
  • Status of Payment in Lieu of Taxes Funds for Winston County Commission-Elrand Denson, USFS.
  • Invasive species control demonstration proposal-Tom Counts, Conservation Services of Alabama.
  • Public Meetings about Protecting Streams by the Federal Office of Surface Mining-LaVerne Matheson.
  • Rush Darter Proposed Listing by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Allison Cochran, USFS.
  • July 29, 2010, will be the next Liaison Panel Meeting, and it will be held in Moulton-Allison Cochran, USFS.
  • August 21, 2010, Hunter Education Field Day at the U. S. Forest Service Office from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m.  Participants must have taken the Online Training before attending Field Day-Allison Cochran, USFS.
  • New Prescribed Fire Incentive Program-Chris Wright, AFC.  Targets small landowners that need 10 to 80 acres treated.  Cannot own over 250 acres.  Provides $20 per acre for prescribed burn assistance and $0.15 per foot for fire lines.  Can also apply for up to five acres of mulching.
  • Arson Investigation Class is currently being given to Volunteer Fire Departments in Winston County.  Training will focus on preserving evidence in arson cases.  This training could lead to more successful prosecution of arsonists responsible for fires that destroy homes and forest resources-James Burnett, Winston County Emergency Management.
  • Budget Cuts at the Alabama Forestry Commission-Chris Wright, AFC.  Over 60 employees will be laid off.  In North Alabama, the Lawrence County and Marshall County Offices will close.  Wildfires will be covered by adjoining county AFC offices.
  • July 13, 2010, Liaison Panel Meeting Report-Elrand Denson, USFS.
  • Smith Lake Clean-Up Report-Allison Cochran and LaVerne Matheson.  Over 15 Tons of old Styrofoam and other debris was removed from the lake during the cleanup.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 15th, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Assign-A-Highway Program Nominated for Award

The Assign-A-Highway program has been nominated by Judge Kelli Wise, Presiding Judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, for an award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. If selected, the Assign-A-Highway program will receive the Paul H. Chapman medal, a check to aid in funding the program, a commendation bar pin, a certificate of appreciation, and an invitation to an awards banquet in Atlanta, Georgia.

Congratulations to Crystal Till, Program Manager of the Winston County Assign-A-Highway program. The Assign-A-Highway program is provided through a partnership of NACOLG and the NW AL RC&D Council.

Rock Creek Watershed Plan Update

Mona Scruggs with Alabama Water Watch (AWW) has sent out information about several activities that are planned for the days of July 22-24.

On Thursday July 22, at 7 pm, there will have a brief meeting at the Traders and Farmers Bank in Addison to present the final Rock Creek Watershed Management Plan to interested stakeholders (copies will be available). This will also be a time for you to ask questions about the plan and the implementation process.
On Friday July 23, from 12:30 pm until 6:30 pm, (AWW) will be holding a free Chemistry Water Monitoring Workshop with the Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee (SLEPC) at the home of Deb Berry.
On Saturday July 24, from 12:30 pm until 6:30 pm, AWW will be holding another free Chemistry Water Monitoring Workshop at Smith Lake Civic Association building located at 2155 Smith Lake Dam Road in Jasper.  Directions will be posted at the AWW Workshop Registration page.
If you have been certified by AWW, but need recertification, you will have an opportunity to be recertified at both workshops from 3:30 pm until 6:30 pm.
Please go to to register for your workshop.
Also, AWW will be attending the SLEPC meeting which begins at 9 am on Saturday July 24th, at the Dodge House Restaurant in Dodge City. They will briefly discuss the Winter Bacteria Blitz results and other AWW news. 
The Summer Bacteria Blitz will be ongoing throughout the three days. You can pick up testing materials at the RCWMP meeting on Thursday night or at the workshop on Friday. If you are not going to incubate your own samples, AWW can get your samples at either the Friday or Saturday workshops (depending on the day you test), or at the SLEPC meeting at the Dodge House Restaurant. AWW can coordinate other meeting times if these do not work for you.  If you need more information, call Mona at (334) 844-4785.