Monday, March 31, 2014

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting Scheduled

The quarterly meeting of the Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel is planned for Thursday, April 10th. The April meeting agenda focuses on feral swine. There will be updates on feral swine control programs and research projects including projects on the Bankhead National Forest, Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area and other areas across Alabama. The April 10th meeting will be held at the First National Bank in Double Springs. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm. Meetings of the Bankhead Liaison Panel are open to the public. Please call the Ranger District office at 205-489-5111 for more information.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Bats in Bankhead National Forest

(Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York 
Department of Environmental Conservation)
White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Bats in Bankhead National Forest Release Date: Mar 27, 2014 Double Springs, Alabama (March 27, 2014) -- The U.S. Forest Service has discovered White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in two bats collected recently in the Bankhead National Forest. The bats, which tested positive for WNS, were found in Armstrong and Backwards-Confusion Caves on the Bankhead National Forest. The specimens represent the first confirmed cases of WNS for Lawrence County, Alabama. White-Nose Syndrome is a disease characterized by fungal growth around the muzzle and wings of hibernating bats. First discovered in 2006, the disease spread rapidly from its origin in New York and is now as far south as Alabama and Georgia. WNS was confirmed in Alabama in 2012 with cases in Jackson County. The recent confirmed case in Lawrence County was the first discovery on national forests in Alabama. WNS has caused the death of almost six million bats that are an important part of forest ecosystems, helping to control forest and agricultural insect pests. According to Eric Schmeckpeper, acting district ranger of the Bankhead National Forest, the Forest Service issued a closure order for caves in all southern region national forests in May 2009 to proactively slow the spread of the fungus. The closure order remains active and includes caves in the Bankhead National Forest. “There is no known risk to humans from White-Nose Syndrome,” said Allison Cochran, a wildlife biologist for the Bankhead National Forest. “It is possible that people can spread the disease by inadvertently transporting fungal spores on clothing, footwear and gear that has been used in caves that have been infected,” added Cochran. Decontamination of clothing, footwear and gear can reduce accidental transmission of fungal spores. The Forest Service is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Department of Conservation, Alabama A&M University, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and others to reduce the spread of WNS. In the event that a member of the public spots an infected bat, they should notify the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources at 256-353-2634 with information about the location. Bats that may be encountered on the ground should remain undisturbed. Visit to learn more about this wildlife epidemic. Bat Conservation Resources: • SRS Website - • White Nose Syndrome Website -

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Council Meeting Notes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on March 20, 2014 at the Bankhead National Forest Ranger District office in Double Springs. Andy Baril, James Burnett, John Creed, LaVerne Matheson, Allison Cochran, and Eric Schmeckpeper attended the meeting. The following items were discussed. April 17th WCNRC Meeting. Meet at Double Springs, Bankhead District Office at 0900 for a short, 10 minute meeting. Field trip to shortleaf and longleaf pine sites on Bankhead National Forest. Allison Cochran will work with Tripp Gaskins & Jeremy McDonald to develop an agenda plan for a ½ day tour. Bankhead’s new District Ranger Dave Casey starts on March 31st. He has been invited to the April 17th WCNRC meeting to meet the Council. Brief discussion on Bankhead’s prescribed burning program. John Creed provided an update on the Tree Give Away. There was a poor turnout, despite the same level of publicity as past events. Discussion of Walker County events and taking trees to students. Also a discussion on selection and possibly getting more fruit trees and shrubs for sale as we have done in the past. James Burnett updated the Council that he is trying to get the Vinemont State Troopers helicopter pilots to come to a Firefighter Association meeting in Winston County soon. These helicopters are often used in local Search & Rescue operations. Andy Baril shared two Extension efforts related to Tourism and Economic Development. Had discussions on both the Alabama Hiking Trail and the Alabama Scenic River Trail. There was discussion on how the Council could support these efforts. It was suggested that the Alabama Hiking Trail Society might speak at one of the future Council meetings in efforts to learn more. LaVerne Matheson gave an update on the Water Commission. Additionally, Alabama Water Watch is planning a septic tank program for the area. LaVerne will keep us posted on the specifics. April 25th there will be a public meeting of the Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc at 7 pm at the Traders & Farmers Bank in Arley. April 10th there will be a public meeting of the Bankhead Liaison Panel at 6 pm at the First National Bank in Double Springs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Council Meeting

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Local Farmer Draws Attention

Charles Brannon, a local farmer could now be considered a famous man.  He has made the "cover" of the Alabama Cooperative Extension website:  Here he is seen showing off some of his tomatoes grown in his High Tunnel.  His wife Kathy is hopeful he won't start charging for autographs now that he is a celebrity!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

National Timber Tax Website

The National Timber Tax Website was developed to be used by timberland owners, as well as a reference for accountants, attorneys, consulting foresters and other professionals who work with timberland owners regarding the tax treatment of timber related activities.