Thursday, January 16, 2014

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

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