Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rock Creek Watershed Management Project Kick-Off on Tuesday, June 7th

Hi Everyone,
I am excited to announce to you that we will have our official Rock Creek Watershed Management Project Kick-Off Meeting on Tuesday, June 7th in Arley at the Traders and Farmers Bank Building at 6:30 pm. We are anxious to start planning activities for the next few months and we really need your help. The first phase of the project will really focus on getting local folks familiar with the project's goals as well as general watershed and water quality concepts. 

We will also be discussing the Bacteria Blitzes we have been doing over the last year. We will look at the progress of hotspot clean ups and also discuss the direction we'd like to go with the Blitzes in the coming year.

Several of our project partners who work with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Project (which has funded the Bacteria Blitzes around Smith Lake) will be at the meeting, and they would love to meet you. They will share a little bit about the work they are doing on their side of the Gulf.

Please come out and share your ideas with the group. Contact me with any questions. Hope to see you soon!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Forest Service Celebrates Get Outdoors Day and National Fishing and Boating Week

The U.S. Forest Service and Winston County Natural Resources Council are teaming up with local agencies and organizations to encourage youth to enjoy the great outdoors by hosting a free youth fishing derby on June 11, 2011 at the Black Warrior Work Center (Central Lookout Fire Tower) located in the Bankhead National Forest.

The “Get Outdoors Day” fishing event is for youth ages 5 to 12 who are supervised by a parent or guardian. Participants are asked to register and furnish their own bait and tackle to compete in the derby. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the hooks hit the water at 10 a.m. Participants can enjoy free food, door prizes, casting contest, and educational programs.

According to Elrand Denson, district ranger of the Bankhead National Forest, having
community support in events located on the national forest is important to the success of our fishing derbies that are held annually. “Engaging our young people in outdoor activities is key to continuing the legacy of conservation, wise use, of Bankhead’s natural resources. ”

The fishing derby will be held at the Black Warrior Work Center (Fire lookout tower) located off Highway 33, 12 miles north of Double Springs. The pond provides excellent fishing for catfish.

While visiting the Bankhead National Forest, families can enjoy additional recreational activities that include swimming, fishing, picnicking and camping.

Please contact the Bankhead National Forest at 205-489-5111 for registration information and directions.

Tornado Relief-Fencing Supplies

The Winston County Cattlemen's Association and the Winston County Farmers Federation recently purchased $16,000 in fencing supplies for the tornado victims in Marion, Franklin, and Lawrence Counties.  Much of the funds were provided by a group of cattlemen in Jessamine County, Kentucky that wished to help storm victims in Alabama.  The funds were used to make a bulk purchase of fencing supplies.  3,120 metal T-posts, and 96 rolls of barbed wire were purchased.  Each producer received 130 posts and four rolls of barbed wire, which is enough to build one-fourth mile of fence.

The supplies were delivered on Thursday, May 26th.  The photos in this album show the delivery of the supplies:


Additional funds have been received for storm relief since the supplies were ordered, and even more supplies may be purchased for other producers with tornado damage.

UPDATE 9/16/2011:  The Lauderdale County Farmers Federation has contributed $5,000 toward the storm relief in Northwest Alabama.  These funds will be used to purchase additional fencing supplies.  This brings the  total to $25,000.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pecan Phylloxera Attacks Backyard Trees

The pecan phylloxera is a small, aphid-like insect that is rarely seen, but the galls it produces are prominent and easily noticed.  This year the pecan phylloxera is common, and we have gotten many calls about this problem.  The numerous light green galls, often described as bumps or blisters on the pecan leaves, alarm many homeowners who are worried that it might be the beginning of a serious problem.  Fortunately, this looks worse than what it is, and it rarely causes serious problems for the pecan tree.

Pecan phylloxera have a complicated life cycle for an insect.  The pecan phylloxera overwinters as eggs located inside the dead body of a female adult, which is in protected places on the branches of pecan trees. Soon after bud break, the eggs hatch and the young insects migrate to opening buds or leaf tissue to feed on expanding new growth. These individuals feed in such a way that it stimulates the development of galls, which encloses the phylloxera insect in a few days. Inside the gall, she matures, lays her eggs and dies. These eggs hatch within the gall, and these nymphs feed within the gall until they mature. The gall provides protection from predatory insects that would normally decimate their population.

In early July, the galls split open and the mature nymphs emerge as winged, adults. These adults migrate to other trees or other parts of the same tree and lay eggs that are of two sizes. The smaller eggs hatch into males, and the larger eggs hatch into females. These male and female phylloxera do not feed; their sole purpose is to produce the overwintering eggs. This final stage of the insect seeks out sheltered places on a tree, where they are protected for the winter.  The adults and nymphs are small, one-eighth inch long, soft-bodied and cream-colored. They resemble aphids. You'll need a hand lens to observe and identify them.

Once the galls appear, it is too late to control pecan phylloxera for the season. However, in most cases it is not necessary to be concerned, since they usually do not cause enough damage to pecan trees to warrant an insecticide application. Spraying large backyard trees is usually not practical in any case.  Certain native trees and grafted varieties within an orchard may become more heavily infested than other trees.

May Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on Thursday, May 19th at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were:  Bill Snoddy, LaVerne Matheson, Tony Avery, Tom Counts, Allison Cochran, John Sudduth, Johnna Franks, Chris Wright, Tim Malone, Wade Hill, John Creed, James Burnett, Jim Hughes, Mike Henshaw, and Carl Godsey.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Storm Damage in the Winston County Area-Tony Avery, Chris Wright, Johnna Franks, Tim Malone, and Wade Hill.  AFC cleared roads, opened powerline right-of-ways, buried dead poultry, and aided in debris burial for six days in the Hackleburg and East Franklin Areas.  The FSA and NRCS are working to get disaster aid to affected producers.  FSA programs can help farmers clear debris from fields and forests, get funds for dead livestock and poultry, and funds to help replace some types of fencing.  There are also programs to help replant damaged forests.  Anyone needing information on these programs should contact Tim Malone at (205) 921-3103.  
  • Tony Avery reported that he felt that little of the damaged timber would be salvageable due to a number of reasons.  Difficulty in picking up horizontal stems, poor market conditions, blue stain in lodged timber, reduced tonnage due to drying of dead timber, high diesel fuel costs, and other factors will mean that much of the timber will be not be recovered.
  • The balance in the Council's treasury is $7,920.29.
  • John Sudduth and Wade Hill described an effort by the Winston County Cattlemen and the Winston County Farmers Federation to provide free fencing supplies to affected livestock producers in Marion, Franklin, and Lawrence Counties.
  • The Council voted to provide up to $200 for the Winston County 4-H Wildlife Evaluation Team to travel to the State Competition in June.  
  • The 13-Year Cicada has been heard by several council members in the northern part of the forest and in Lawrence County.  Others have not heard them, so the population seems to be spotty.
  • Chris Wright mentioned that the signup for the Prescribed Burn Program has been delayed until June 1st.  Plans are for the sign-up to be open during the month of June.  Here's a link from last year's program.  When details of the 2011 Program are released, they will be posted on this blog.
  • LaVerne reported that there would be a kickoff meeting for the Rock Creek Watershed Management Program on June 7th, in Arley.  Details of the meeting will be announced later. 
  • The date for the TREASURE Forest Helene Mosley Awards Program will be Friday, October 7th, at Bill and Jeanie Snoddy's Loblolly Farm TREASURE Forest in Double Springs.
These minutes submitted by
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Webinar Set to Assist State’s Poultry Producers

East Franklin poultry house destroyed in the April storms.

Alabama’s poultry producers were the hardest hit of the state’s farmers by the violent outbreak of tornadoes in late April. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries estimates that the storms killed more than 3.2 million chickens and destroyed more than 200 poultry houses. It is estimated that more than 500 additional poultry houses were damaged by the storms.

For many of these poultry farmers, information about available recovery resources is their most critical need. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, partnering with a number of other organizations, will host a webinar to update producers on all of the resources that are available to them on Friday, May 20 from 10 a.m. until noon.

More information about the webinar is available at this link.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Council Meeting

The monthly meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 19th, 2011, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Mike Henshaw
Secretary, WCNRC
Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference Set for Auburn

Set for July 21 through 23 at Auburn University, the 2011 Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference will bring together trail riders, land owners and public land managers who are interested in building, maintaining and enjoying equestrian trails. The theme of this year’s conference is “Creating, Coordinating and Conserving a Trail Friendly Environment.”  

Dr. Cindy McCall, an equine specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the conference will offer a variety of seminars related to trail development and trail riding.

“It will feature workshops on development, preservation and sustainability of trails as well as rider protocol and horse care,” says McCall.  “The Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference strives to foster the education and development of a conservation force that will influence land-use policies at local, state, regional and national levels.”

Dr. Susan Stormer will give the keynote address on Friday, July 22.  Stormer, who is both an active trail builder and a doctor of clinical psychology, will discuss nature deficit disorder.  Nature deficit disorder refers to the decreasing amount of time children spend outdoors, which some say has negative impacts on children’s physical and social well being.  Saturday’s keynote speaker will be Garth Rumsmoke, writer for Trail Rider magazine and leader of many trail improvement projects that engage trail riders.

Dr. Gene Wood, a retired Clemson Extension trails specialist, will discuss how fostering horse trails can affect local economies.   Jan Hancock, author of Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgounds, will discuss building and maintaining sustainable trails.  The conference is filled with many additional speakers, workshops and activities.

McCall says this year’s conference also will feature special programs for youth involvement, and non- equestrians are encouraged to attend to share their perspectives with those who value recreational use of horses on trails.

Extension and Auburn University are two of several organizations sponsoring the conference.  For more information on the conference agenda and registration information, visit the conference website at  www.southeasternequestriantrails.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

13-Year Cicada Expected To Make An Appearance

By Xing Ping Hu, Extension Specialist - Entomology & Plant Pathology

It has been 13 years since Alabama experienced the swarm of the cicadas in Alabama.  The last time the 13-year periodical cicada made a spectacular appearance was in early May 1998.  Alabama recorded having 2 cicada broods: XIX and XXIII. Broods are various populations designated by Roman numerals so scientists can refer.  Based on the records of the past results at Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, the periodical cicada that will emerge this year is known as Brood XIX.  Brood XIX is the primary and biggest brood that we have in Alabama, which is a southeastern brood that ranges west into Louisiana and north into Illinois and southern Iowa. Brood XXIII primarily lives west of Alabama.  Cicada brood XIX is often referred to as 13-year “locus”, because the adult cicadas mass emerge from ground, precisely on schedule, every 13 years by millions.  The cicadas emerge at nights in later April or early May, and only live about 5-6 weeks. You may see numerous nymph skins on tree trunk, twig, and leaf.  They prefer to lay eggs in branches about the size of a pencil. Females cut into the underside of the branch and lay their eggs in it. The egg-loaded branches often wilt and fall on the ground.  The eggs hatch out nymphs, which are wingless and drop to the ground.  Nymphs dig into the ground, begin a journey of 13 years in the soil quietly and unseen. Nymphs have a sucking-mouth and feed on sap of roots of trees and plants. Fried nymphs make a great tasty, high protein value dish on the table.  After the 13-year growth, winged adult cicadas emerge out, climb onto trees, and sing extremely loud and incessant from morning to dusk, declaring their appearing after 13-years hiding under ground and calling for mates. Only males sing, females are mute and voiceless.  Cicadas are basically harmless, except the egg-laying damages to twigs and stems of trees and shrubs. Whether you like the cicada “song” or dislike the “noise” is up to your judgment.  The next occurrence will be in 2024.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting Cancelled

The regular meeting of the Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel scheduled for May 5 in Double Springs has been cancelled. For more information, or to join the Bankhead's mailing list, contact the Ranger District Office at 205.489.5111.

City of Haleyville Facebook Page has Storm Response Information

The City of Haleyville has a Facebook page where they are posting information about the storm recovery efforts:


Farm Service Agency News Release about Disaster Assistance Programs

 News release from Farm Service Agency

http://www.aces.edu/%7Ehenshmd/temp/Disaster Assistance Available 0511 State .pdf

Monday, May 2, 2011

Forest Service News Release about Closure of Recreation Sites

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      CONTACT: Tammy Truett - 334-832-4470                  
Updated – May 2, 2011

Bankhead National Forest Recreation Sites Now Open but Some Trails Remain Closed

(Montgomery, Al) May 2, 2011 ----The U.S. Forest Service has re-opened all recreation sites and the Flint Creek Multiple Use Trail System in the Bankhead National Forest located in northwest Alabama.  Areas that remain closed are the Owl Creek Horse Camp and Trail System, trails in the Sipsey Wilderness and Forest Service Road 208 (Northwest Road) within the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area. Forest Service officials are continuing to assess damages and perform repairs. Visitors can also enjoy recreations sites open for use in the Talladega, Conecuh and Tuskegee national forests, but are encouraged to watch their steps and beware of hazardous trees and limbs.    
            According to District Ranger Elrand Denson, the safety of visitors is always our priority especially after this devastating tornado. “We’re asking the public to be patient with us as we continue to evaluate the current conditions.” Before visiting the Bankhead National Forest, visitors can check the Forest Service website at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama to learn current forest conditions under the “Know Before You Go” link or contact the Supervisor’s Office at 334-832-4470.    
            The Forest Service is asking visitors to be prepared when visiting a national forest.  After major storms, ground conditions change in a forest.  Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and avoid dense patches of dead trees.  Strong winds could weaken unstable trees; so limbs and damaged trees may fall at any time.
 Safety handouts are available at each district office or on the Forest Service website. Please contact the following district offices: Bankhead District (205) 489-5111, Conecuh District (334) 222-2555, Shoal Creek District (256) 463-2272; Talladega District (256) 362-2909; Oakmulgee District (205) 926-9765; and the Tuskegee District (334) 727-2652. 
“Know Before You Go” Safety Checklist (On-line handouts)