Friday, July 21, 2017

July Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on July 20, 2017, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were Mike Henshaw, Byron Tuggle, Jimmy Madison, Kerry Clark, Jeremy McDonald, Walker Shortnacy, J. D. Snoddy, Allison Cochran, and Johnna Franks.  The following topics were discussed:

  • T-shirts for FAWN program.  The Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District has agreed to sponsor the FAWN program by giving $600 for this year's program.  Johnna is researching FAWN t-shirt options and other items with the WCSWCD new logo.  Jeremy shared examples of t-shirts from the Payne Creek Demo Area programs.
  • Mike shared information about the Resource Advisory Committee funds available from the Forest Service.  The Winston County Commission has submitted a proposal requesting over $71,000 for road maintenance and educational activities in the county.  
  • Jeremy, Kerry, and Johnna stressed the importance of treating the numerous cogongrass spots that have occurred in the county.  Most of them have been on state highways, and the indication is that it is being spread by road maintenance activities.  The council will prepare a letter to send to both the ALDOT and the Winston County Road Department on the importance of treating cogongrass infestations and cleaning equipment to prevent the spread.
  • The Winston County 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Teams placed second and fourth at the recent state competition in Auburn.  The council voted to provide $200 to help cover the team's expenses.
  • Jimmy Madison, the new Emergency Management Director for Winston County, introduced himself and gave a brief background on his previous experience in the fire service and law enforcement.
  • Byron said he has been attending in-service training and conducting home visits with students that have Agri-science projects at home.
  • J. D. said the Winston County Arts Council has an exhibit at the Bankhead House in Jasper that will run from June until September.  Much of the art is related to the natural resources in Winston County.
  • Walker Shortnacy, an Auburn University Wildlife Sciences student, attended the Bat Blitz in Birmingham and gave a report on that event.  He has also been assisting with non-native invasive plant control on the Bankhead.
  • Allison is Acting Ranger on the Bankhead District.  The District Ranger position opening has just been announced and normally takes about 90 days to fill.
  • Johnna gave an update on the Alabama Forestry Commission.  The commission is in the process of reorganizing from five regions in the state to three regions.  Retirements are causing staffing shortages statewide.  Tony Avery is planning to retire on September 1st.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Meeting

The July meeting of the WCNRC is at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Agenda items include a review of the Winston County Commission’s Resource Allocation Committee application and the Winston County 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Team competition.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kids “Get Hooked” at Fishing Derby and Parents Learn About Firewise Communities

The Bankhead National Forest held the 25th annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday, June 10 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, National Fishing and Boating Week, and Alabama Free Fishing Day. The Forest Service, which hosts the yearly event to help interest young people in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation, stocked a pond with about 400 catfish and invited area youngsters to try their luck.  This year’s event included a number of new educational programs.  The theme of this year’s Derby was “Firewise”.  Children were reminded to prevent wildfires by a visit from Smokey Bear.  Adults learned about the Firewise program which included an exhibit and flyers on how to improve your home and community in case of wildfire.  Additionally this year, participants learned about tick-borne illness and ongoing research in Bankhead National Forest.  They also learned outdoor ethics including the “Leave No Trace” concept and about ethical and safe fishing and boating.  This year children tried their hands at new outdoor skills including archery and shooting.  The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries set up an Archery Range and the National Wild Turkey Federation  staffed the “Jakes Take Aim” Shooting Booth.  All children received a free membership to the NWTF’s Jakes club and a fishing derby t-shirt complements of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

Fifty-nine 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 was caught by Kane Hood of Double Springs.

In the 5-6 year old age group, Landon McDonald of Double Springs took the first place trophy.  Jack Culberson of Florence, AL captured second place.

DJ Melson of Moulton won the first place trophy in the 7 - 9 year old group.  Lily Kate Clark of Jasper won second place.

In the 10 – 12 year old category, Tanner Garcia of Double Springs took the first place trophy.  Brilyn Dover of Addison took second place.

In addition to the fishing competition, a casting contest was held in which Morgan Shamblin of Cleveland, TN won in the 5 – 6 year old division; DJ Melson of Moulton won in the 7 – 9 year old division; and Nena Garrison of Double Springs won the 10 – 12 year old division.  All three received a new rod and reel and tackle box as their prize.

The Derby concluded with drawing for door prizes, awarding of trophies to contest winners and a hotdog lunch.  This year’s event was funded by a grant to the Winston County Natural Resources Council from the Winston County Commission, a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the US Forest Service.  Sponsors of the 2017 Kids Fishing Derby include 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, Winston County Natural Resource Council, Moulton Walmart, and the Bankhead National Forest.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs on May 18.  Present were Jeremy McDonald, James Burnett, Kevin Pugh, Andy Baril, J. D. Snoddy, Mike Henshaw, Casey Hammack, and Lauranne James.  The following items were discussed at the meeting:

  • Jeremy gave a report on the Payne Creek Demonstration program.  There were 135 participants from Double Springs Middle School, FFA group from Winston County High School, FFA Group from Curry High School, and University of Alabama students.  There were 5 learning stations and a hike down to the Payne Creek canyon.  WCNRC provided $150 for the portable toilets.
  • Lauranne gave a report on the Northwest Alabama RC&D Council's EcoCold Storage unit that is housed in Winston County.  While the unit was only received in March, it has been in use almost every day at either a farm or the Main Street Ministries Food Bank.
  • A Resource Allocation Committee proposal will be submitted by the Winston County Commission.  It will include badly needed road maintenance for Winston County roads that service Forest Service lands, and some educational projects to benefit recreation on the Forest and to monitor water quality.  The WCNRC agreed to send a letter of support for the Winston County Commission's proposal to the Forest Service.  J. D. said that the Arts Council may be able to provide a letter of support.
  • Casey suggested that the Alabama Forestry Commission might be able to use their transport to haul free potting soil that will be available in June.  This soil will be used in school and community raised bed gardens.
  • Andy suggested that the WCNRC look at offering programs featuring private landowners, and support the TREASURE forest program.  He said we should recruit landowners that have done a good job managing their private forestland in Winston County.
  • Fishing Derby will be held on Saturday, June 10, at the Black Warrior Work Center.  All council members are invited to attend and help host the event.  A Firewise learning station will be set up at the Derby.  The WCNRC helps sponsor this annual event.
  • Kevin said the staff on the Black Warrior has been busy planting warm season wildlife plots and breaking up large, single-crop plantings with multiple plant species plantings.  This should provide better edge habitat, and more variety in the openings.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Agenda items include a review of recent council-sponsored events – the Payne Creek Demo Program, and the Winston County 4-H Round Up.  We’ll also discuss the upcoming Youth Fishing Derby scheduled for Saturday, June 10.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sustainable Forest and Wildlife Management Workshop

Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. Annual Public Meeting

To Members and Friends of WCSLA:

You are invited to attend our Annual Public Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 5, 2017, at Traders & Farmers Bank meeting room in Arley.

A special guest speaker will be telling us about certain services available in Winston County.  Refreshments will be served.  Door prizes will be available.  To raise funds for the Advocacy's educational and cleanup efforts, we might even auction a few highly desirable objets d'art created by some of our talented members!

More info to come.  Please plan to be there!

Lu Cruce, Secretary

Monday, April 24, 2017

Winston County FFA Forestry Judging

The Winston County FFA Forestry Judging was held recently by the Winston County AgriScience Departments.  Jeremy McDonald, USFS, helped set up and conduct the forestry judging contest.  AgriScience instructors Mr. Caleb Beason, Mr. Byron Tuggle, and Mr. Frank Graham coached their students for the competition.  Segments of the competition include forest measurements and tree identification.  The WCNRC provided $130 in awards to the winners of the competition.  Winston County High School won first place, Haleyville High won 2nd, and Addison High placed 3rd.

Minutes of April Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on April 20, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  In attendance were Mike Henshaw, Jeremy McDonald, John Creed, James Burnett, J. D. Snoddy, Johnna Franks, and Andy Baril.  The following topics were discussed:

  • Payne Creek Demo event will be held on May 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Several educational stations will be set up and there will be a hike into the canyon.  The Natural Resources Council previously set aside up to $150 dollars to help with expenses for transportation or portable toilets.  Firewise information for the adults and children will be covered at one of the stations.
  • A banner for the Winston County Natural Resources Council and a banner for Firewise has been ordered from the Sign Shop in Moulton at a cost of $90 each.  The group approved the cost of these banners.
  • Photos of the Winston County 4-H Shooting Sports Team was shared with the group.  The Council provided $200 to help cover the sponsored groups trip to the State Shotgun Competition.
  • The FFA Forestry program requested $130 for the Forestry Judging Award winners, and this amount was approved by the Council.  Jeremy gave a report on the event, which he helped set up and conduct.
  • J. D. Snoddy gave a report on the Northwest Alabama RC and D Council's Eco-cold storage unit that is being used by area vegetable and fruit growers and Main Street Ministries.  The unit provides low-cost temporary cold storage for farmers and others needing short term cooling for perishable items.
  • The 4-H Round Up will be held on May 9, at the Double Springs Municipal Building.  Several council members will be assisting with this event for Winston County 4-H'ers.
  • Discussed Resource Allocation Committee funds available from U. S. Forest Service.  The Winston County Commission will be submitting a proposal to use the $71,000 of funds allocated to Winston County.
  • Andy invited all to the Walker County Landowner tour near Eldridge, on May 6.  Click here for a printable flyer.
  • Johnna said that AFC was working on fire breaks for landowners.  She also said they had a new State Forester, Rick Oates.
  • Andy, John, and Johnna reported on the pine beetle situation in the state at the present.  There are major concerns about weak markets for pine if serious beetle problems were to occur.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Winston County 4-H Shotgun Team Attends State Competition in Childersburg

The Winston County Natural Resources Council helped support the Winston County 4-H Shooting Sports Club trip to the State 4-H Shotgun Championship in Childersburg.  Here the team poses for a group photo with towels made in memory of Will Gunnin, former member of the team.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Renew Our Rivers Scheduled for April 26 and 27, Corinth Recreation Area

RENEW OUR RIVERS Smith Lake Cleanup

Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy, Inc., Bankhead National Forest and Alabama Power Company need your help for a RENEW OUR RIVERS Lake Cleanup on Smith Lake April 26 & 27, 2017 ( Wed. &; Thurs.) 8:30 sign-in; Cleanup begins at 9:00.
The Renew Our Rivers cleanup will be held at the Corinth Recreation Area Boat Ramp, Bankhead National Forest.

Volunteers with boats are needed to remove loose trash from Smith Lake sloughs and shoreline! Other volunteers not using their own boats may crew on the Alabama Power Company Renew Our Rivers boats and the Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy boat. These boats depart at 9 am.

Trash bags will be provided at the Corinth Recreation Area boat ramp at 9 am on 4/26. Styrofoam, other large trash such as boat house parts, and household garbage will NOT be accepted. This cleanup is only for small debris and loose trash that will fit into the collection bags.

Lunch will be provided. Bring drinking water, life jacket, gloves, sunscreen, insect repellent and a chair for lunch. Contact Jim Eason 256-590-2388 or Allison Cochran 205-489-5111 for more information. To learn more about Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy, email

Directions to Corinth – From Double Springs, travel 8 miles east on Hwy 278; turn right at Corinth Rec Area sign on Co Rd 57. From Addison, travel 11 miles west on Hwy 278; turn left at Co Rd 57/Corinth Rec Area sign. Inside the Rec Area, follow the signs to the boat ramp.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pine Bark Beetles

March Council Meeting Minutes

The March meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council was held at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were Mike Henshaw, Allison Cochran, Kerri Roberts, Andy Scott, and Andy Baril.  The following topics were discussed:

  • Resource Allocation Committee (RAC) - Mike explained about the upcoming RAC proposals that will be submitted to the committee in Montgomery.  Winston County has approximately $71,000 allocated to projects that will take place in the county.  At least half of those projects are to be used for maintenance of existing roads and trails, and all of the projects should be of some benefit to the U. S. Forest Service lands.  In order to coordinate the proposals that will be submitted from the county, the Winston County Commission (including the road department), and the U. S. Forest Service have a joint meeting planned for April 10, after the regular county commission meeting to discuss proposal priorities.  It is expected that there will be a great deal more projects than there will be RAC funds to complete them, 
  • The council agreed to support the Winston County 4-H Shotgun Team up to $200 for expenses to attend the State 4-H Shotgun Competition in Childersburg.
  • The Alabama Invasive Plant Conference will be held on May 3, in Alexander City.
  • Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy will have a meeting at 6:00 p.m., on May 5, at the Traders and Farmers Bank Building in Arley.
  • The council agreed to provide up to $150 for transportation of Double Springs youth to the Payne Creek Demonstration Area for the Junior Ranger program.
  • A WCSLAI Lake Clean Up will be held on April 26 and 27, at Corinth Boat Ramp.
  • Council discussed construction at Lakeshore.
  • Andy mentioned the on-going project with the State Lands that will be transferred to the Winston County Board of Education.  He has visited the property with the Agriscience instructors to get ideas for possible opportunities to use the property in the Agriscience programs.
  • The Firewise Youth Fishing Derby will be held on June 10, at the Black Warrior Work Center.
  • Pine beetles continue to be a cause for concern across Alabama, according to Andy Baril.  A rapid increase in damage due to pine beetles is a possibility.  
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Walker County Landowner Tour

Monday, March 13, 2017

March Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, March 16, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.


Mike Henshaw,

Pine Beetle Article

Article on featuring experts from Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Alabama Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private forest industry experts.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Minutes of February Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on February 16, 2017, at the U. S. Forest Service Office.  Present were Mike Henshaw, Allison Cochran, Andy Scott, James Burnett, Andy Baril, and Kerri Roberts.  The following items were discussed:

  • Tree Sale to be held on Wednesday, February 22
  • Balance according to Johnna is $7,576.89
  • Travel plans to attend the Alabama Natural Resources Landowner Symposium and Awards Banquet.
  • Approved purchase of Firewise Banner for events.
  • Approved $200 to support a Firewise Event at the 4-H County Round-Up at the Municipal Building in May.
  • Pruning Workshop on February 23
  • Possible boat ramp projects in the county.
  • Discussion of State Lands near Houston to be transferred to the Winston County Board of Education.
  • Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting in Moulton on Thursday, March 2, at 6 p.m., at Recreation Center.
  • Andy Scott is serving as interim District Ranger until March 3, possibly longer.
  • 15,000 acres of prescribed burning planned on Bankhead National Forest.
  • Safety issues and rules of the road concerning bicycles on Forest Service Roads.
Mike Henshaw,
Secretary, WCNRC

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting Scheduled for March 2

The next meeting of the Bankhead Liaison Panel will be held Thursday, March 2, 2017. The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM at the Moulton Recreation Center. The Moulton Recreation Center at Alexander Park is located at 13550 Court Street. The meeting will adjourn by 8:00 PM. The meeting topics include Bankhead National Forest Health and Restoration updates, Summary of the Recreation Working Group progress, feral swine program updates; and Liaison Panel business. All members of the public interested in the Bankhead National Forest are invited to the Bankhead Liaison Panel meetings. If you have any questions, please call the District Office at 205-489-5111.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Winston County Receives Natural Resource Council of the Year Award

Pictured from left, Chuck Sykes, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director,
Mike Henshaw, Allison Cochran, Jeremy McDonald, and Andy Baril. (photo by Kelvin Daniels, AFC)
The Winston County Natural Resources Council received the North Region Natural Resources Council of the Year Award in Tuscaloosa on February 17, at the Landowner Outreach Symposium and Awards Banquet.  This award comes with a $1,000 award from the Alabama Natural Resources Council to support future council activities.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Arbor Week Tree Give-Away

Tree Species- River Birch, Bald Cypress, Redbud, Shumard Oak, Crepe Mrytle, and Pecan.
All will be in limited quantities.
Tree give away will be held on Wednesday, February 22, at 9:00 a.m., at the Winston County Forestry Commission office at 225 Coats Street, in Double Springs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Minutes of January Council Meeting

Photo by Allison Cochran

The Winston County met on January 19, at the U. S. Forest Service Office.  Present were Kerri Roberts, Jeremy McDonald, John Creed, Mike Henshaw, Travis McDonald, Andy Baril, Matt Brock, and Allison Cochran.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Kerri mentioned the 4-H Round up in May, and possibility of having a Firewise segment for the parents and volunteers present.
  • Jeremy brought up the Payne Demo area and the Junior Ranger program and a Firewise program for that event.
  • After the passage of a constitutional amendment, State Lands property in Winston County will be transferred to the Winston County Board of  Education.  Andy, Mike, and Kerri have a meeting scheduled to learn about the board's plans for the property, and to offer any assistance that may be beneficial.
  • Andy gave an update on the Outreach Symposium and Awards Banquet in Tuscaloosa on February 17.  Several members are planning on attending including Andy, Mike, Mr. Godsey, Allison, Jeremy, and Jason Harris (the newly hired F. S. Silviculturist).
  • Jessica Blackwell is finishing up a stint as Acting Ranger on the Bankhead, and Andy Scott will be the next Acting Ranger.
  • Reviewed 2016 rainfall data, which showed only approximately 44 inches vs a normal total of about 55 inches.
  • Jeremy reported on current fire conditions.
  • Matt said that he would soon be receiving a new $7,000 hog trap that would demonstrate a wireless camera that can monitor the trap via a cell signal.  He can also remotely activate the trap at the moment when the entire sounder can be captured.  The trap can be used to assist private landowners with feral hog damage.
  • Matt added that NRCS funds are only available to adjacent landowners that agree to work together to control hogs.  
  • A Shortleaf Pine Workshop will be held on January 27, at Monte Sano, from 9-12.  More info at this link.
  • There was tornado damage to timber in several areas in Winston County due to the November 29 storms.  Several landowners are working to salvage damaged timber stands.
  • Pine beetle activity seems to be on the increase in Winston County.  Jeremy reported on some higher beetle trap counts.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Thursday, January 19, 2017

News Release - National Forests in Alabama - Forest Service Implements Controlled Burns

For Immediate Release                                            

USDA Forest Service Implements Controlled Burns in Alabama’s National Forests

(Montgomery, Al)  January 19, 2017 ---- USDA Forest Service federal fire specialists will intentionally conduct controlled burns on approximately 91,500 acres of the Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests during the next six months. The land management plan requires the Forest Service to use prescribed fire as a management tool to improve forest health. The controlled burn or “good fire” is carefully planned to provide many benefits for wildlife and reduces the accumulation of forest undergrowth that can become a wildfire threat if untreated.

Controlled burns take place annually only if weather conditions are favorable. During this time, the public may see smoke, additional Forest Service personnel and equipment near project areas.  The Forest Service is asking the public to use their low beam lights and watch out for uniformed Forest Service personnel. At times, visibility may be reduced because of smoke settling at night in low lying areas.

Maps that highlight controlled burn areas can be viewed on our website at under the Know Before You Go section. If you have questions about the following prescribed burns, contact a Forest Service district office:

•Bankhead Forest is planning to burn 15,000 acres in Winston and Lawrence Counties, call the office at (205) 489-5111.

• Conecuh Forest is planning to burn 20,000 acres in Escambia and Covington Counties, call                       (334) 222-2555.

•Talladega Forest- Talladega and Shoal Creek Districts are planning to burn 35,000 acres in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne and Talladega Counties, call the Heflin office at (256) 463-2272 or the Talladega office at (256) 362-2909.

•Talladega Forest - Oakmulgee District is planning to burn 20,000 acres in Bibb, Dallas, Perry, Tuscaloosa, Hale and Chilton Counties, call (205) 926-9765.

•Tuskegee Forest is planning to burn 1,500 acres in Macon County, call (334) 727-2652.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, January 19, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Monday, January 9, 2017