Monday, January 20, 2014

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, January 21

The Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel will meet on Tuesday, January 21. The public meeting will begin at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Moulton Recreation Center at Alexander Park. Agenda items include research updates from Alabama Natural Heritage Program and Alabama A&M University; recreation updates; Friends of Clear Creek organization; and a Forest Supervisor's address. For more information, contact the Bankhead Ranger District Office at 205-489-5111.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winston County Reverse 911

The Winston County Commission is asking residents to sign up for Reverse 911.  This service is primarily to alert residents to tornado warnings for Winston County issued by the National Weather Service.  However, the system can be used for other emergencies if needed.  Phone companies that serve Winston County have provided most, if not all, of the landline numbers into the system already.  Cell phones have to be entered into the system by the cell phone user.  According to the Reverse 911 company, it is not a problem if a phone number is in the system twice, the system will only make one call.  If a resident is in doubt if their landline number is in the system, they can be sure by entering it at the website.  Here is the Winston County Commission website:  Look for the Reverse 911 tab.

January Council Meeting Minutes

Members present were Johnna Franks, Chris Wright, Carl Godsey, Matthew Brock, Jeremy McDonald, Eric Schmeckpeper, and Mike Henshaw.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Techniques for planting poplar seedlings
  • Introduction of Acting Ranger Eric Schmeckpeper
  • Timeline for hiring permanent district ranger, new ranger should be selected by the end of January, and on the job by the end of February.
  • Matthew said that the Lawrence County Natural Resources Council met earlier this week and is planning a landowner meeting about timber markets. More information is here.
  • LaVerne Matheson sent information that Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. had partnered with the Winston County Road Dept, Sheriff's Dept., and the County Commission to clean up an illegal dump near swayback bridge.
  • Chris noted that the Forestry Commission has a spycam that can be deployed on illegal dumps.  
  • Eric mentioned that he would like to make use of persons sentenced to public service to help clean up illegal dumps on the forest service lands.  It was recommended that he partner with Tom Snoddy at Assign-A-Highway on that project.
  • LaVerne also asked us to mention that he will be speaking to the Water Management group in Montgomery.  He will be talking about the importance of keeping water quality in mind when formulating the state water management guide.  He is particularly concerned about failing septic tanks impairing water quality.
  • Eric gave a demonstration of the Forest Service's new app PDF Mobile Maps App.
  • Cogongrass status in Winston County.  Council will provide assistance to private landowners that may not have the resources to control infestations on their property.  There is at least one such situation in the county at this time.  Other infestations have been controlled by the highway department or by the landowner.
  • Balance in the Treasury:  $10,599.15.
  • Rural Schools and Self Determination Act.
  • Matthew said their had been many changes in the upper levels of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  He said there would probably be many changes to the organization when new leadership is put in place.
  • Matthew noted that the deer harvest this year was up in quality, but down in number of deer harvested.  Weather was not favorable this year, and the number of man-days was down.
  • Matthew also reviewed the number of feral swine killed in 2013.  156 were trapped and killed, and about 80-90 were killed by hunters.  When asked about best place to hunt for hogs, he suggested the wilderness area due to a lack of access for effective trapping.
  • There will be special hog hunt the first two weeks of March on the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area.
  • Chris and Johnna said that a new State Forester for the Alabama Forestry Commission has been selected.
  • There is a new process for getting the private applicator pesticide permit.  For more information contact Mike Henshaw at 205 489-5376.
  • Fact sheet about Eastern Baccharis
  • Two Generation Farm Business Transition Program at Belle Mina on February 17
  • America Forests Global ReLeaf grant program.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Marketing Options for Timberland Owners

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January Council Meeting

The January meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, January 16, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Using Bing Maps to Layout Cross Fencing on Addison Farm

Screenshot of map created using Bing maps.
Charles Brannon, an Addison cattle farmer recently needed to estimate the length of some new cross fences for his pastures.  I advised him that it would be possible to do that using Bing maps.  He asked "Do I have that on my computer?"  I told him he did.  It's basically a web page that he can visit with his computer.  He gave me permission to share the link to this informal map that we created to measure the new fence distances.  It seemed to work well, and we simply added up all the different segments of new fences with a calculator.  He was able to arrive at an estimate that was needed for his EQIP application for cross fencing.

Two-Generation Farm Business Transition

The purpose of the programs is to assist families and individuals interested in active farm business transition learn how to:

1) assess the feasibility of two-generation farming
2) develop communication and human relationship skills essential for success
3) transfer ownership and management and the division of business income
4) evaluate factors in selecting and developing a business arrangement

This program will be held on the following dates and locations:

Thursday, February 6: Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, Headland
Monday, February 17: Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, Belle Mina
Thursday, February 27: Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center, Crossville

More information is available on this printable flyer: