Monday, September 30, 2013

Alabama Water Watch Chemistry and Bacteriological Certification Workshops

Alabama Water Watch will hold water chemistry and bacteriological certification workshops at Camp McDowell near Nauvoo, Alabama, on Monday, November 11, 2013.  For more details on registration visit:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friends of Clear Creek Representatives Speak to Haleyville Rotary Club

Eric Reutebuch, Associate Director of the Alabama
Water Watch, speaks to group about the Clear Creek watershed.


Beth Smith, Camp McDowell Environmental Center Program Coordinator,
speaks about the need to upgrade Clear Creek from a fish and wildlife
designation to a swimming designation.

Recreational Fish Pond Program at Loblolly Farm

Dr. Rusty Wright, Extension Specialist Aquaculture and
Recreational Pond Management, speaks to group.

26 people recently attended  a recreational fish pond management workshop hosted by the Winston County Natural Resources Council, the Winston County Extension Office and the Winston County Commission.  The workshop was held at Jeanie Lake on Bill and Jeanie Snoddy's Loblolly Farm.  Dr. Rusty Wright, Extension Specialist Aquaculture and Recreational Pond Management, presented the basics of pond management, and Andy Baril, Regional Extension Agent - Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, gave a presentation about problem wildlife species in ponds.  Dr. Wright also brought the Fisheries Department's electrofishing boat to sample the lake's fish population.  Forester continuing education points and Professional Logger Manager continuing education points were available.

Andy Baril, Regional Extension Agent, holds a Conibear
trap used to trap beavers.

Dr. Wright and John Creed operate the electroshock boat.

Bass caught by electroshocking.  This sample of fish reveals the
condition of the lake's fish population.

Dr. Wright weighs a fish, which was found to be underweight for its length.

Sandwiches and chips made possible from funding
the Winston County Commission.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Invasive Plant Control Workshop in Haleyville

Wade Hill explains landowner incentives available from NRCS

 An Invasive Plant Control Workshop was held at Rocky Ravine Park in Haleyville on September 4th.  16 people attended the workshop.  Wade Hill, District Conservationist with NRCS, spoke about landowner incentives available to control invasive species.  Andy Baril, Regional Extension Agent, and myself demonstrated equipment and application techniques.  Expenses for the workshop were offset by a grant from the Winston County Commission so that the workshop registration was free for participants.
Andy Baril, demonstrates backpack sprayer.

September Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on September 19, 2013, at the U. S. Forest Office in Double Springs.  The following members were present:  Elrand Denson, LaVerne Matheson, John Creed, Mike Henshaw, James Burnett, Chris Wright, and Matt Brock.  Chris Wright, chairman, said the balance in the treasury was $11,574.70. 

The following topics were discussed:
  • Hunter Ed Class will be held on the Bankhead on October 7-8, 2013.  Registration is available online at the Alabama Department of Conservation website.
  • Elrand Denson announced that he has accepted a position in Washington, D. C.  His new position will be overseeing Special Use Permits in National Forests.  He said that an acting ranger would be assigned to the Bankhead District, and that the position would be filled permanently in approximately 80 days.  The Council wishes Elrand the best in his new position, and we definitely appreciate all the support he has given the council during his time leading the Bankhead District.
  • Chris said that the Council was closing it's P. O. Box box due to lack of use and the cost of the rent.  The new mailing address for the Council is 225 Coats Street, Double Springs, AL  35553.
  • FAWN dates are October 9, for Meek, Addison, and Double Springs schools, and October 11, for Lynn and Haleyville schools.  Walk through on October 8 at 9:00 a.m. at Houston Recreation Area.
  • Discussion of possible new FAWN station
  • Pasture Walk in Arley
  • Review of new Game Check rules - Matt Brock
  • Wildlife Rehab permits will no longer be issued for some wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, opossum, foxes, coyotes, or feral hogs.  Concern over disease spread was a key factor in new policy.
  • New game feeding rules.
  • Elrand said the Forest Service was conducting end of fiscal year activities.  They are also working on a plan to address the hemlock wooly adelgid, if it should infest this area.
  • International Paper plant closure in Courtland.
  • LaVerne said that Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy would be conducting a Slough Clean-Up on October 11-12.  The activities will be concentrated in certain areas, check with LaVerne for more information.
  • John Berry, former mayor of Double Springs, passed away.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FAWN Dates for 2013

The FAWN dates for this year are Wednesday, October 9, and Friday, October 11.  Please mark your calendars for these dates.  We are also planning the FAWN walk-through on Tuesday, October 8, to put up signs and do other preparation.  Elrand told us that a good bit of maintenance has been done at Houston Recreation Area and that it should be in good shape for the students this year.  We are working on draft programs for these events and will send those out as soon as possible.  Thanks in advance for your support of the FAWN program this year.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Council Meeting September 19

The September meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, September 19, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

News Release Regarding Batching Dates for NRCS Programs

 Contact: Fay Garner, Public Affairs Specialist, 334-887-4506
or John Curtis, Resource Conservationist, 334-887-4539

Signup Batching Periods Announced for Conservation Programs

Auburn, Ala., September 10, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett announced that October 18, 2013, is the signup batching date for producers for 2014 funding for the following conservation programs:

·                     Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
·                     Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) which includes the Agricultural
           Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), organic farming, and high tunnels
·                     Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), including Longleaf Pine and
           Gopher Tortoise Initiative
·                     Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) 
·                     Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

There will also be a second batching on February 28, 2014, for the following conservation programs:

·                     Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) 
·                     Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, selecting applications for funding is completed periodically through batching periods with specific cutoff dates.

In the CSP, EQIP and WHIP programs, eligible producers may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice. 
Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice. In addition, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 30 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting. 

GRP and WRP are conservation easement programs where landowners receive payments for developing and protecting wetlands and grazing lands.

Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at General program information is available on the Alabama NRCS website at Individuals are not eligible until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:  USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lovebugs Causing Complaints from Homeowners Across the County

Lovebug adult.  Photo by Johnny N. Dell,
The Winston County Extension Office has been getting numerous calls about lovebugs from annoyed homeowners.  The flies are related to gnats; they are about a quarter of inch long and are black, except for some orange on the midsection of body.  The insects develop in decaying vegetation, and there is little that can be done to reduce their population.  The best strategy to avoiding problems inside the home is to make sure doors and windows seal tightly.  The abundant rainfall may be a factor in the high populations this year.  These periods of high activity related to the mating season may last four weeks.  See this publication from the University of Florida about lovebugs.