Thursday, June 16, 2011

June Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on June 16th, 2011, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  The following members were present:  Jeremy McDonald, Travis McDonald, Tom Counts, James Burnett, Lorenzo Walton, Elrand Denson, Allison Cochran, Carl Godsey, and Mike Henshaw.

Travis McDonald, Wildlife Biologist,  is a new employee with the Bankhead National Forest and will be working with Allison Cochran, District Wildlife Biologist.  Lorenzo Walton, has previously worked on the Bankhead as an intern, and now has a position as a Forestry Layout Trainee.

Johnna Franks and Chris Wright could not attend due to an AFC meeting in Decatur.  However, they sent word that the balance in the Treasury was $7,126.45.  They also noted that they were seeking speakers on aesthetics and recreation at the TREASURE Forest Awards Program to be held on October 7, 2011, at Bill and Jeanie Snoddy's TREASURE Forest near Double Springs.

Allison Cochran gave a report on the Youth Fishing Derby.  65 youth attended, which does not include all the parents or volunteers that hosted the event.  This number of youth is ideal because the youth can spread out on the pond bank and still have plenty of room to fish.  She reported that the event cost about $2,000 to hold.  Those funds came from a variety of sources this year, with the WCNRC providing about $1,000.  She noted that the event would not be possible without the support of the Conservation Officers Association, the Double Springs Lions Club, and the WCNRC.

Other topics discussed:
  • A couple reported seeing a Black Bear on County Road 2 in Winston County.  The bear was raiding garbage cans.  The nighttime photos of the bear are not clear, but do support their account.  Other sitings have been reported in Blount County, Jefferson County, and Marion County.
  • New Extension Publications:  Lost, Abandoned, or Orphaned Deer Fawns and Common Birds of Prey in Alabama.
  • A GPS 101 Workshop will be held in Cullman County on July 28, 2011.  Participants associated with the Rock Creek Watershed will be eligible for a scholarship that will cover the $30 registration fee.
  • A Smith Lake Cleanup will be held this Friday and Saturday, June17-18.  The main headquarters will be at Clear Creek Boat Ramp with other sites at Yellow Creek and Lakeshore.  
  • Mr. Carl Godsey stated that the Winston County Cattlemen's Picnic will be held on Saturday, June 18th.
  • Forever Wild Amendment discussion.  A state-wide vote will be held on extending the Forever Wild Program.
  • The AFC is holding a sign up for the Prescribed Burning and Hazardous Fuel Reduction Program.  Winston County landowners are encouraged to sign up for this program if they are interested in prescribed burning or mulching on their property.  There were only two applications from Winston County in 2010.  Deadline to apply is June 30th.
  • Jeremy McDonald reported on the district's efforts to control invasive plants such as privet, mimosa, and kudzu.  Special emphasis has been placed on limestone glades where invasives have encroached on critical habitat.
  • Elrand updated the council on the new National Forest Supervisor in Alabama, Steve Lohr.  He will be visiting the Bankhead soon to meet with employees here.  He also said that they were working on budgets for the Bankhead District, had met with Mississippi State forestry students, and are completing the steps to hold a salvage operation from storm damage.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

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