Monday, December 10, 2012

Regulation Prohibits Deer Release

Press release from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources about banning the release of captive-raised deer into the wild:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FAWN Thank You Letter

Mrs. Suzanne Tyson, a sixth grade teacher at Haleyville Middle School, sent a thank you letter to the Winston County Natural Resources Council thanking us for the FAWN program.  Above is a scan of the note from Mrs. Tyson.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Bears in Northeast Alabama

Interesting article in the Anniston Star states that there is now a breeding population of black bears in the Little River Canyon Preserve in northeast Alabama.  One expert predicts there will be a breeding population in or near the Talladega National Forest within 10 years. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Council Meeting

The November meeting of the WCNRC was held at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were Elrand Denson, Mike Henshaw, Chris Wright, Johnna Franks, Wade Hill, John Creed, James Burnett, Andy Baril, and Tripp Gaskins.  The council discussed the following topics:
  • The meteorite that fell near Addison caused a loud boom that alarmed residents over a large portion of North Alabama.  James said the EMA had received calls about the boom.  Elrand said that NASA was searching an area in the forest for fragments.  Anyone searching for fragments would have to have a special use permit.  There are also safety concerns with the beginning of gun deer season set to start on November 17.
  • Johnna stated that the treasury balance was $3,360.45.
  • Blaze II bloodhound.  WCNRC made a $500 donation toward the purchase and training of the dog.
  • The $1,000 award from the Natural Resource Council of the Year designation should arrive soon.
  • Hendrix Longleaf Pine meeting with Tim Albritton is set for Tuesday, November 20.
  • Tree Recovery Campaign for Haleyville set for Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at the Neighborhood Facilities Building, from 9 a.m to 12 Noon.  The purpose of this tree give-away is to help areas affected by the tornadoes re-establish trees damaged by the storms.  All council member are encouraged to attend to assist with the distribution of the trees. 
  • Cogongrass locations in Winston County.
  • Feral hog brochure available from the Bankhead National Forest
  • Elrand gave an update on the Thinning and Harvesting Monitoring Committee's field visits.  He also stated that improvements to parking areas for two trailheads are underway.
  • FAWN program evaluation and discussion.
  • Winston County Commission Grants are pending.  
There will not be a council meeting scheduled for December, so the next meeting will be Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Mike Henshaw,
WCNRC Secretary

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whooping Crane Migration Lands in Walker County

An update on the Operation Migration blog show the Whooping Cranes have landed in Walker County.

Departure from Columbia Co., WI Photo: Bev Paulan,

"The Dust Bowl" Series on PBS

Katherine Patton, writing on the Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District Blog, mentions the "The Dust Bowl" PBS series.  Sounds like an interesting program:

Mark your calender to watch "The Dust Bowl", a two-part, four-hour documentary series premiering  November 18th and November 19th, 2012, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on PBS. Ken Burns, the film maker says, "Nothing was more important than the Soil Conservation Service, headed by Hugh Hammond Bennett, who came in at the local level to re-educate farmers. More info on the show can be found at Below is a quote from Hugh Hammond Bennett. "This particular dust storm blotted out the sun over the nations capital, drove grit between the teeth of New Yorkers, and scattered dust on the decks of ships 200 miles out to sea. I suspect that when people along the seaboard of the eastern United States began to taste fresh soil from the plains 2,000 miles away, many of them realized for the first time that somewhere something had gone wrong with the land. It seems to take something like a disaster to awaken people who have been accustomed to great national prosperity, such as ours, to the presence of a national menace. Although we were slowly coming to realize that soil erosion was a major national problem, even before that great dust storm, it took that storm to awaken the nation as a whole to some realization of the menace of erosion."

November WCNRC Council Meeting

The November meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 15, 2012, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feral Hog Management Seminar

Feral hog damage.  From: Billy Higginbotham,
The Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will host a Feral Hog Management Seminar on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Oh Bryan’s Restaurant on Highway 17 in Hamilton Alabama at 6:00 p.m.

The speaker will be Andrew J. “Andy” Baril Regional Extension Agent in Forestry, Wildlife & Natural Resources.  Andy graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management. He also has a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The meal will be Dutch treat. In order to insure quick service we need to know the number that plans to attend.  If you plan to attend, please call the Alabama Cooperative Extension System office at 205-921-3551 on or before November 8, 2012. Space is limited so call early.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kudzu Bug Spreads Across Alabama

Close up of a kudzu bug adult.
I have been hearing about the kudzu bug spreading across the state for some time, but this week I met the insect face-to-face.  At a training meeting in Auburn, there was a lot of talk of kudzu bugs among other extension agents and specialists.  On a trip to the Auburn Wal-Mart, I saw a number of the bugs swarming around my truck.  This was the first time I’d actually seen the bug, and there were several of them swarming on the cab.   
The bugs are olive green to brownish with a squared tail, and they are about the size of an Asian lady beetle.  Kudzu bugs are native to Asia.  It was first detected in northeastern Georgia in October 2009.  Now it has spread throughout Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, and moved into Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi and Virginia.  No one seems to know how they got into the country.  They are nuisance stink bugs that secrete a foul odor that can stain wall coverings, fabrics and skin.

There might be one upside to the kudzu bug, researchers have found that the bugs can reduce kudzu vine growth by one-third.

In Alabama, kudzu bugs were first discovered in two counties in 2010. By the next year, they were reported in eight counties, and this year reports confirm them in 43 counties.  I have checked some kudzu patches in Double Springs, and I did not find a single kudzu bug.  They may not be here yet, but this may be the last kudzu bug-free year that we have.  There is little doubt that they will arrive in this area soon since they have already been reported in neighboring Cullman County.  Kudzu bugs are excellent hitchhikers landing on people, vehicles and buildings, plus, they are good fliers and can fly long distances.
Kudzu bugs were busy eating plants all summer. As the name would suggest, they like kudzu, but they also move into other crops such as soybeans and green beans. They seem to be particularly active in exploring different plants in spring before leafing of kudzu and in later fall to get the last meal before overwintering.  Triggered by the approaching cooler temperatures, they are actively leaving their usual host plants to look for places to spend the winter.  Where would that be?  Your home and home garden are nice cozy habitats for overwintering.  Once on the move, the adults particularly like congregating in masses on light-colored surfaces.  During the day they also like to gather in masses in the shade portion of structures regardless of color.  This mass migration has caused complaints and inquiries to Extension offices.

What should homeowners do to prevent an invasion?

Exclusion is the better answer. Exclusion means sealing and caulking very well, particularly around windows, doors and areas where piping, such as water spigots or air conditioner lines, enter the house. Also, tight sweeps on the bottoms of doors and good screen maintenance will help limit entry into the house.

If homeowners choose to use an insecticide, any pyrethroid insecticide applied directly to the bugs can kill them. Most insecticides available for purchase by consumers are effective at killing the bugs. Homeowners must read and follow the product’s label. It is the law.

Even with use of well-timed insecticides and all the caulking and tightening you can do, if these bugs are interested in your house, some of them will find their way in. Remember, they all come with an offensive odor so treat them with care! Do not crush them as they can emit offensive odor and cause stains. The best way to remove them is to vacuum them up. A wet/dry vacuum works best, as odors can linger in a traditional vacuum. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dishwashing detergent per gallon of water then add a few gallons to the vacuum canister. The detergent and water will drown any kudzu bugs you vacuum up. If you have to use a traditional vacuum, be sure to throw away the bag as soon as you are done.

For more information on kudzu bugs, give us a call at 489-5376.  

Photo credits:  Photo 1:  Joe Eger, Dow Agroscience, Photo 2:
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University,, Distribution Map:
The University of Georgia

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Smith Lake Clean Up, October 5-6

Greetings, WCSLAINC members, Smith Lake Stake Holders and friends of Smith Lake,

   I hope this finds you all well. Another season has come and gone and hopefully you got to spend some quality time with family and friends here on the lake. While on the lake I bet you noticed the scarcity of any beaded styrofoam floating or lodged on the bank.  This didn't happen by accident, it was through the hard work of the many volunteers associated with WCSLAINC, SLEPC and The Smith Lake Civic Association that this eyesore, navigation hazard and threat to fish and wildlife was removed.  To all those that volunteered or supported us in anyway, we, WCSLAINC would like to thank you.

   The officers and board members of WCSLA feel that with the removal of most beaded styrofoam it is time to direct out attention to the smaller trash that accumulates in sloughs and pockets around the lake.  The type of trash I refer to is plastic bottles, smaller pieces of foam, glass etc..While riding the lake recently I must admit the lake looks great.  It is in the spring when the water levels rise that the debris I referred to floats out of the woods and thickets and negatively impacts beautiful Smith Lake.

  That being said, WCSLAINC is having a Lake Cleanup Friday Oct. 5 th and Saturday Oct. 6 th from 8:00 am till 2:00pm. The central meeting place is at King Boat Docks on Rock Creek. The start time will be 8:00 am.  Jim King Boat Docks is located at 202 Co. Rd. 4007 Crane Hill or GPS location 34 degrees 02' 11"N,   87 degrees 07' 43" W.  This is just north of Rock Creek Marina .This year we will concentrate our efforts in Rock Creek, White Oak, Crooked Creek and Little Crooked Creek.  We will have dumpsters at Jim Kings and the boat launch at Sway Back (Helican) Bridge and a utility trailer just upstream from Silver Rock Cove at a private boat ramp.  You can obtain trash bags from any of these locations. 

  Participants will be eligible for a drawing for some prizes that will be held after the cleanup on Saturday! Volunteer either or both days and your eligible.

  We invite everyone to participate young and old alike. If you don't have a boat we can transport you to a site.  Wear proper footwear bring a life jacket, a lunch or snacks, we can furnish drinks.  Come out and spend a beautiful Autumn day on the Lake!!

  For more information about the cleanup contact me , David Brown,  e-mail  phone : 256-747-2109 or Sammy Boggan phone : 205-215-4401


                                                                                    David Brown

                                                                                    President WCSLAINC

Monday, September 24, 2012

WCNRC Chosen as 2012 Council of the Year

Johnna Franks nominated the Winston County Natural Resources Council for the Council of the Year Award, and the nomination was successful!  She received a call last week notifying her of the award.  The award also comes with a monetary contribution to the council.

The award and check will be presented at the North Region Forestry Field Day to be held in Blount County on Thursday, October 18.  All council members are invited to come accept the award.  Click here for a printable copy of the flyer for the field day.

When Chad Fell, Senior Reporter with the Northwest Alabamian, heard about the award, he said that he would like to do an article for the newspaper.  Chad and I set up an appointment at 9:00 a.m., on Wednesday, September 26, at the Winston County Extension Office to do an interview with council members.  If your schedule permits, please come by for that meeting with Chad.
This award is a tremendous honor for our council’s hard work of the past year.  Thanks to Johnna for taking the time to nominate the WCNRC.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September Council Meeting

EMA Director, James Burnett, describes function of EOC.
The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the Winston County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on September 20, 2012.  The following persons were present:  Allison Cochran, Andy Baril, Bill Snoddy, LaVerne Matheson, John Creed, Chris Wright,Tim Webb, Johnna Franks, Jim Hughes, James Burnett, Jeremy McDonald, Carl Godsey, Tripp Gaskins, and Mike Henshaw. 

James Burnett gave the WCNRC a tour of the EOC.  The EOC will be a site where all government officials can gather during an emergency.  The EOC is operational, and ready to be used, if needed.  Further improvements are planned when resources become available.  Computer improvements, a projector, emergency generator, are just some of the improvements that are needed when funding becomes available.  The EOC also has sleeping quarters, a full kitchen, and showers in case operations must be conducted around the clock.  Tim Webb, Winston County 911 Director, mentioned some of the capabilities of 911 that could be used at the EOC.  He also gave an overview of planned improvements to the 911 system.

Other busisness included:
  • Yellow Dot Program
  • FAWN Program Planning
  • Rural Secure Schools Grants Applications to the Winston County Commission
  • Friends of Clear Creek, Alabama Waterwatch, Water monitor training
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Introduction of Tripp Gaskins-District Silviculturalist on the Bankhead National Forest
  • Andy Baril mentioned West Alabama Birding Trail, Walker PLM Training on Oct. 25, Feral Hog Class-Gardendale on Oct. 4, PLM Class Pickensville-Oct 5, American Chestnut Seminar in Jasper-Oct. 17, North Region Forestry Tour-Oct 18, in Blountsville, GPS 101-Jasper, on Oct. 30.
  • Hunter Education Training on October 22, 23, and 25, at District Headquarters, Bankhead National Forest.
  • Slough Clean-Up, Rock Creek, October 5-6, for more information contact LaVerne Matheson.
Johnna Franks reported that the balance in the treasury was $4,481.06.

Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Meeting To Be Held At Emergency Operations Center

The September Meeting of the WCNRC will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 20th, at the Double Springs Municipal Building, located at 23415 Highway 195.

James Burnett, Director of the Winston County Emergency Management Agency, will give us a tour of the newly constructed Emergency Operations Center (EOC). 

Also, mark your calendar for the 2012 FAWN program on October 9-10. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friends of Clear Creek Meeting Wednesday in Double Springs

Dr. Bill Deutsch and Mona Dominguez for Alabama Water Watch will share some of the history of Clear Creek, a plan for the future of the creek and a grant proposal that has been submitted in order to fund the project.
Everyone is invited.
What:   Friends of Clear Creek meeting

When:  September 12th at 5:30

Where: Buena Vista Mexican Restaurant

               14940 Hwy 278

               Double Springs, AL 35553


RSVP: or 205.910.1585

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fire Ant Control Program

Fire ants are one of the biggest pests of Alabama lawns and gardens. On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, a Fire Ant Control Program will be held at the Alabama Power Building, 2001 13th Avenue, in Haleyville. This program is free to the public and will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Several topics will be covered including the life cycle of fire ants, control measures such as mound treatments and baits, and there will be an equipment demonstration. Preregistration is not required. Charles Pinkston, Regional Extension Agent, and Mike Henshaw, County Extension Coordinator, will be on hand to answer questions about fire ants. If you need any additional information please contact the Winston County Extension Office at (205) 489-5376.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Save the Date: FAWN-October 9th and 10th

Sixth graders from Haleyville learn about watersheds at FAWN.
Johnna Franks has contacted the Winston County schools and scheduled FAWN.  The 2012 FAWN dates are Tuesday, October 9, for Meek, Double Springs, and Addison Schools, and Wednesday, October 10, for Lynn and Haleyville Schools.  The rain dates are the following week on October 16-17.  FAWN will be held at the Houston Recreation Area again this year.  An agenda for FAWN and other details will be sent out soon.