Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Minutes of June Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on June 20, 2013, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were:

Matt Brock, James Burnett, Andy Baril, Mike Henshaw, John Creed, Tripp Gaskins, Jeremy McDonald, Byron Tuggle, Wade Hill, Tim Malone, and Elrand Denson.

The following items were discussed:
  • James mentioned that NOAA is predicting a large dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico due to low oxygen levels in the water.  This problem is worse this year because large quantities of nutrients from the Midwest row crop fields are being flushed in to the Gulf by spring flooding.  
  • Matt gave a report on the 21st Annual Youth Fishing Derby that was held at the Black Warrior Work Center on June 1st.  He said that 63 youth were present and over 200 counting parents and volunteers.  The "Jakes Take Aim" exhibit was set up by the Wild Turkey Federation.  The WCNRC and the Winston County Commission help sponsor this event.
  • Matt gave a report on the Black Warrior WMA activities.
  • Byron Tuggle said that the Winston County High School FFA chapter attended the state FFA competition in Forestry Judging.  The team placed 4th at the district competition, and 8th at the state competition.  
  • Jeremy McDonald said that the Jr. Ranger Program had gone well at the Payne Creek Demonstration Area with over 200 people in attendance.  The WCNRC provided transportation for the students to attend the event.
  • Tripp mentioned the Herbicide Workshop that is planned for Saturday, August 10, 2013.  The focus of this workshop will be herbicide use on the Bankhead National Forest, but the workshop may be of interest to local forestland owners as well.
  • A discussion about a four-part series of workshops for landowners planned for this fall.  Topics for the workshops are pond management, feral hog management, invasives, and planting wildlife food plots.
  • Sunhemp as a wildlife food plot species.  
  • Farm Bill update - Tim Malone and Wade Hill.  The farm bill legislation is pending and until it is passed all FSA programs are uncertain.  Direct Payments will almost certainly be cut out of the new farm bill.
  • Matt Brock said that U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services wildlife biologists have recently tested five feral hogs from the Bankhead National Forest for the pseudorabies virus.  Four of the five tested positive for the virus.  The virus causes mild symptoms in swine, but is often fatal to other species such as cats, dogs, raccoons, whitetail deer, and other species.  There is concern that the virus may be having an effect on native wildlife populations.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Monday, June 24, 2013

Agriculture and Forestry's Economic Impact in Winston County

Over 2,800 jobs are attributed to agriculture, forestry and related industries in Winston County.  The Alabama Agribusiness Council and Alabama Cooperative Extension System cooperated to produce a report detailing the economic impact of agriculture in Alabama.  The full report here for other counties and the entire state.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Annual Kids Fishing Derby Celebrated National Fishing & Boating Week

The Bankhead National Forest held the 21st annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday, June 1 in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week. The Forest Service, which hosts the yearly event to help interest young people in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation, stocked a pond with about 350 pounds of catfish and invited area youngsters to try their luck.  A highlight of this year’s Derby was the National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Jakes Take Aim” Shooting Booth.  All children had the opportunity to practice their marksmanship and received a free membership to the NWTF’s Jakes club.
A total of 63 children (with accompanying adults) from surrounding counties came to the Black Warrior Work Center on the Bankhead National Forest to compete for trophies in three age categories. Contestants fished for approximately 1 ½ hours and the winners in each age group were decided by measuring the longest fish caught by each individual.

The largest fish overall, a 20 ¾” catfish, was caught by Desirae Yost of Danville.

In the 5-6 year old age group, Josh Freeman of Moulton took the first place trophy.  Owen Armstrong of Cullman captured second place.

Kamden Steele of Houston won the first place trophy in the 7 - 9 year old group.  Braden Luker of Addison won the second place trophy.

In the 10 – 12 year old category, Kelsey Hogan of Decatur took the first place trophy and Justus Logan of Moulton took the second place trophy. 

In addition to the fishing competition, a casting contest was held in which Tyde Borden of Hartselle won in the 5 – 6 year old division; Savannah Liverett of Double Springs won in the 7 – 9 year old division; and John Thomas Linley of Haleyville won the 10 – 12 year old division.  All three received a new rod and reel as their prize. 

The Derby concluded with drawing for door prizes, awarding of trophies to contest winners and a hotdog lunch.  The Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer’s Association donated two lifetime fishing licenses as door prizes this year.  This year’s event was sponsored by a grant to the Winston County Natural Resources Council from the Winston County Commission, a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Double Springs Lions Club, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Sipsey Strutters Moulton Chapter and Bankhead Beards and Spurs Winston County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, and the Bankhead National Forest. 

A big “THANK YOU” from Smokey Bear to everyone who continue to help make the Kid’s Fishing Derby a great success.

June Council Meeting

The June meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Pollinator Conservation Short Course

Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course
Cullman, Alabama
July 30, 2013
9:00 am - 4:00 pm CDT
Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 85 percent of the world's flowering plants and is fundamental to agriculture and natural ecosystems. More than two-thirds of the world's crop species are dependent on pollination, with an annual estimated value of $18 to $27 billion in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, since their activities are ultimately responsible for the seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity, as well as agriculture.

In many places, however, this essential service is at risk. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released the report Status of Pollinators in North America, which called attention to the decline of pollinators. The report urged agencies and organizations to increase awareness and protect pollinator habitat. The Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course was developed to address this need.
Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic bee field identification, and evaluating pollinator habitat. Advanced modules will cover land management practices for pollinator protection, pollinator habitat restoration, incorporating pollinator conservation into federal conservation programs, selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites, management of natural landscapes, and financial and technical resources to support these efforts. Throughout the short course these training modules are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country.
Registrants will receive the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which includes Xerces' latest book, Attracting Native Pollinators. Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies, as well as habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and extension publications.

The Xerces Society is offering similar Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Courses across the country. Visit our online events page to view up-to-date short course information. If you would like to receive announcements about upcoming short courses, please email Be sure to include the following information: name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and the state(s) for which you would like to receive announcements.

Click on the following link Cullman Pollinator Short Course to learn more and to register.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Woodland Management for North Alabama


I am working with Forestry Extension Specialist Becky Barlow to host a Woodland Management workshop on September 10th, 2013, at Redstone Arsenal. This will be an excellent workshop for forest owners, whether they have forestry experience or not. It will have a heavy field component in the afternoon, and lunch will be provided.

Please help advertise over the next few months in as many ways as possible. 

I have attached the flyer, and here is a link to online registration:

Thanks, please contact me if you have any questions.

Spenser E. Bradley
Regional Extension Agent, Tennessee Valley Region

Monday, June 3, 2013

Land Use Changes Over Time

Google Earth has placed Landsat satellite images from 1984 to 2012 into a global time lapse.  By zooming into the Northwest Alabama area, the user can watch changes to the landscape over time.  Logging, mining, and road building activities are visible.  The April 27, 2011 tornado tracks show up in the 2011 and 2012 images.  Here's a link to the site centered on Northwest Alabama:,-87.66562,8.5,latLng&t=1.19