The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs, on November 17, at 9:00 a.m. Present were Jeremy McDonald, LaVerne Matheson, Carl Godsey, Allison Cochran, Tom Counts, John Creed, James Burnett, Mike Henshaw, and Elrand Denson.
LaVerne gave a report on two Smith Lake Clean Ups conducted by Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Incorporated (WCSLAI). These Clean Ups were conducted by volunteers and residents with assistance from WCSLAI. Tarrie Hyche provided dumpsters. The Northwest Alabamian newspaper featured an article and news photo of the Clean Ups. One more Clean Up is planned for this year.
LaVerne added that only 80 boat houses with white beaded foam remain on Smith Lake. Since there are approximately 8,000 such structures on Smith Lake, there is only a small percentage that are in violation. These are being turned over to Alabama Power's legal department for further action.
WCSLAI is also sponsoring a program on Boating Safety that will focus on boating rules and regulations. The Coast Guard Flottilla on Smith Lake will offer free boat inspections to boat owners. The goal of this program is to prevent boating accidents on Smith Lake.
Allison reported that about 10 acres of shoreline seeding had been completed to provide fish habitat and prevent erosion.
A discussion was held about the North Region Forestry Field Day evaluation. Overall, evaluations were very positive. Thanks to Tony Glover, Cullman County Extension Coordinator, for his help in designing and conducting the evaluation.
Tom Counts purchased 45 of the 60 hay bales that Wade Hill brought to the field day. The remaining bales were too damaged to use and a few were left for Bill Snoddy to use. The members present agreed to pay Wade $45 for those 15 bales at $3.00 each. The bales were very useful for seating at the stations and for decorations.
FAWN programs were discussed and it was agreed that they were successful and well received by the students and teachers. It was noted that one afternoon "break" in the program needed to be removed. Also, the guides should help get the students organized for the class photos to help streamline that chaotic process. Allison noted that there might be a change next year with the administration of the recreation areas. The Council may need to do more to prepare the Houston Recreation Area for the programs next year.
Jeremy McDonald said that another Junior Ranger Program for the Payne Creek Demo Area was in the works for next spring. He will probably request some funding for the program early next year.
The poster that Travis McDonald developed for the WCNRC was posted on the bulletin board. It was suggested that the Winston County Commission Logo be added. Thanks to Travis and Apex Development for their help in developing and printing the poster.
Other items discussed included:
- Browns Ferry Nuclear Excercise-Ingestion Pathway-December 8th
- Rock Creek Watershed Meeting on December 6th in Addison at Addison Community Center
- Nationwide Disaster Alert Excercise
- Liaison Panel Meeting, December 1st, First National Bank Building, Double Springs, 6 p.m.
- Jud Easterwood will be the replacement for Ron Eakes at the Department of Conservation
- Update on vacant Black Warrior WMA Manager Position
- Possible FAWN donation from Conservation Officers Association-Ernie Stephens
- Local Emergency Planning Committee being organized according to James.
- Road building and maintenance discussion with Winston County Commission and the WCSLAI
- "Hog Blog" discussion
The next meeting will be held at the regular time and place, Thursday, December 15, but the focus will be on the potential to develop a so called "Hog Blog" as an information center for those interested in feral swine control and hunting opportunities. We will review blogging, mapping with Google Maps and Bing Maps, Facebook, and other ways to address the need for information about wild hogs in this area.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary, WCNRC
CEC, Winston County Extension Office