Thursday, August 19, 2010

Minutes of August Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council Meeting was held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 19th at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were Chris Wright-Chairman, Jim Hughes-Vice Chairman, Mike Henshaw-Secretary, James Burnett, John Creed, Carl Godsey, LaVerne Matheson, Allison Cochran, Stephanie Love, and Elrand Denson.

Johnna Franks, the WCNRC Treasurer, is recuperating well at home.  The Council wishes her a speedy recovery.

The following items were discussed:
  • 2009 FAWN programs were reviewed and tentative plans were made for the 2010 FAWN programs.  According to James Burnett, funding should be available from the Winston County Commission for bus transportation.  LaVerne Matheson, reported that WCSLAI is planning to give $500 to $1,000 for FAWN, pending board approval.  There will be an increased cost associated with the T-shirts for the students this year.  If possible, the duration of the learning stations will be increased slightly. 
  • Allison Cochran distributed a color brochure about White-Nose Syndrome on bats.  She said the poorly-understood disease is having a major impact on bats.  To help prevent the spread of the disease to this area, all caves in the Bankhead National Forest are closed.  For more information on White-Nose Syndrome, visit  
  • LaVerne Matheson reviewed the status of the Rock Creek Watershed Grant.  Alabama Water Watch is making revisions to the draft proposal, and it will be resubmitted to ADEM in the next few days.
  • Pulling Together Initiative Committee
  • Charlie Meek, Northwest Alabama RC & D Council, is working with a group of
    council members on an invasive plant control demonstration grant called Pulling Together Initiative (PTI).  The pre-proposal was successful, so the group is now working on the full proposal.
  • LaVerne gave an update on the landslide that has occurred on Smith Lake.  He is working with various agencies to mitigate the hazards and environmental damage resulting from the slide.
  • The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is asking the public to take part in their Future Talk Survey that will help formulate a five year plan.  Survey is available until August 31st at
  • Hunter Education will be available at the U. S. Forest Service Office.  Allison said they will offer both the field day portion and the general hunter education course.  Call (205) 489-5111 for dates and other information.
  • Tentative date for the 2010 Archeofest is Saturday, September 25th.  
  • Alabama A & M is seeking approval for an air quality research tower on the Bankhead National Forest.
  • Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Incorporated is sponsoring a three-day Smith Lake Clean-Up on September 14-16th.
Submitted by Mike Henshaw, WCNRC Secretary

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 19th, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Monday, August 9, 2010

National Forests in Alabama Named Conservation Organization of the Year

The National Forests in Alabama were honored by the Alabama Wildlife Federation's 2011 Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards as the Conservation Organization of the Year. The National Forests in Alabama include the Bankhead, Shoal Creek, Talladega, Oakmulgee, Tuskegee, Conecuh Districts and the Supervisor's Office in Montgomery. The NFs in AL was recognized for being a leader in both forest and wildlife conservation in Alabama. "Working with numerous management partners, they devote countless hours and resources to restore vast areas of our national forests back to the historic longleaf pine ecosystem that once dominated Alabama's landscape. In the wildlife arena, they are leaders in the effort to recover the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and their efforts are providing beneficial examples that are being replicated on private lands in Alabama and the Southeast. The NFs in AL team is also assisting with native warm season grass establishment and re-introduction of Eastern indigo snakes once found in south Alabama. The NFs in AL team is also a leader in conservation education - promoting a land ethic for youth."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thinning a Small Stand of Trees to Establish Silvopasture

Jeff Hendrix and his wife Kristi have a beef cattle farm near Double Springs.  Earlier in the summer, Jeff attended an Extension sponsored tour of Mr. John Sudduth's farm and was impressed with the silvopastures that produce both forage and pine timber.  Based on that visit he decided to thin a three-acre stand of trees in his pasture by removing most of the hardwoods and many of the pines.  Trees were selected to be left based on their spacing and structure.  Crooked, leaning, and forked pines were removed.  The "leave" trees were marked with orange paint in a way that would make them visible to the machine operator from any direction.  Jeff worked with a logger that would harvest the unmarked trees and pile most of the slash in the pasture.  Now that harvesting operations are complete, he plans to plant grass on the interior of the stand this fall.  While the thinning operation did not generate much income, it will improve the growth of the trees and the appearance of the pasture.