Tuesday, June 14, 2022

June Council Meeting - Thursday, June 16th at 9 AM at Houston Recreation Area Day Use

 The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet on Thursday, June 16th at 9 AM at the Houston Recreation Area Day Use Area.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Forestry Awareness Week Now (FAWN) Program held for Winston County Sixth Grade Students in Arley

 About 130 sixth grade students from Lynn, Addison and Meek schools attended FAWN at Matt Hannah's Tree Farm in Arley on May 5, 2022.  Students learned about bee-keeping, Leave No Trace, forestry, wildlife, aquatic macroinvertebrates, prescribed burning and Firewise communities.  

The Winston County Natural Resources Council extends our thanks to Mr. Hannah for hosting, the schools, teachers and students for participating, and the wonderful volunteers who made the event possible!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

FAWN this week!

 Forestry Awareness Week Now, a firewise program, will kick off in Winston County this week!  The walk-through and preparation is planned for 9 AM on Wednesday, May 4th.  FAWN with Winston County 6th graders will be held in Arley at Matt Hannah's Tree Farm on Thursday, May 5th and Friday, May 6th.

Friday, April 22, 2022

April 2022 Meeting Summary


Meeting Summary, April 21, 2022 Meeting

On April 21, 2022, the Winston County Natural Resources Council met with members of the Marion County Forestry Planning Committee at the Ann and Bill Self Farm near Natural Bridge to begin planning a fall Landowner Field Day.

Bill Self, Brenda Real, Tomeesa Shedd, Wade Hill, Robert Clements, Joel Bartlett, Mike Henshaw, Matt Hannah, Amy Melson and three friendly dogs met at the Self Farm and visited several sites, including a shortleaf pine/hardwood planting that’s about five years old.

The members present agreed to work together to host a Landowner Field Day during the week of October 17th in 2022.  Potential meeting topics/learning stations include Shortleaf Pine – Mixed Shortleaf/Hardwood Management; Prescribed Burning; NNIS – Cogongrass and/or Wild Pigs; Aquatics & Water Quality/Erosion Control; Drones for forestry; CWD/Avian Influenza; Programs – Private lands programs – NRCS, QF, WFF, etc.  We strive to host a free field day and serve lunch.  Members will check on availability of trailers to transport participants to the shortleaf pine stand.  Part of the tour could be a walking tour with learning stations set up in the pasture.  Members will also check on availability of caterers, portable toilets and hand washing stations, speakers and organizations or businesses that can fund the event.  Allison will send out a poll to check preferred dates during the week of October 17th.  Zack Brannon and Winston County Extension were volunteered to handle the registration for the event.

A portion of the Self Farm was harvested, and his goal was to reforest the area in a mixed shortleaf pine-hardwood stand.  Site preparation burning occurred prior to planting shortleaf pine.  The pines were released with herbicide.  Fire lanes are maintained, and prescribed fire will be introduced at sometime into the shortleaf stand.  There are other areas of mature hardwoods and loblolly pine on the property, in addition to pasture and mine ponds.  The committees are excited to showcase this property on a Landowner Field Day and greatly appreciate Ann and Bill welcoming us!

Allison Cochran shared updates from the Bankhead National Forest –

District Ranger Andy Scott sends his thanks and best wishes, as he embarks on a new job in Mississippi.  The Bankhead Liaison Panel will have a public meeting at First National Bank in Double Springs on May 3 at 6 pm.  The Kids Fishing Derby is planned for June 11th, Alabama Free Fishing Day, at the Black Warrior Work Center on Hwy 33 in Lawrence County. Children ages 5-12, accompanied by an adult, are invited for free fishing and lunch.  Alabama Power and Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy are holding a Renew Our Rivers Lake Clean-Up on April 28 and 29 at the Houston Recreation Area.  Volunteers needed.  The Bankhead is proposing a new longleaf woodland restoration project and a scoping letter was sent to the public.  Associated with that project, the Bankhead will be offering two stewardship timber sale contracts this year.  These will include pine thinning and stewardship service work like treating non-native invasive plants with herbicide and pre-commercial thinning of longleaf and shortleaf pine with handtools.  A field trip for interested bidders and contractors is coming up this spring.  Prescribed burning is on-going on the Bankhead National Forest with 15,245 acres burned to date.  The staff is burning today.

Group Photo - Winston and Marion County Committee Members with Mr. Bill Self.  Photo Credit: Amy Melson, Northwest Alabamian

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

News Release from USDA Forest Service - Secure Rural Schools Program Reauthorization


President Biden, USDA Forest Service Announce more than $238 Million to Support Rural Schools, Roads, Other Services

Secure Rural Schools will provide critical funding for 742 U.S. counties in 41 states and Puerto Rico from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Release & Contact Info

Press Release

Release No. 0083.22

Contact: USDA Press
Email: press@usda.gov

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2022 – President Biden and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced investment of more than $238 million to support public schools, roads, and other municipal services through the Secure Rural Schools Program, which will deliver payments to 742 eligible counties in 41 states and Puerto Rico. The program was reauthorized for fiscal years 2021 through 2023 by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announcement is one of several being made as the Biden-Harris Administration is in the midst of its building a better America rural infrastructure tour which is highlighting the ways in which President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will positively impact rural communities.

“These crucial investments by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will strengthen these rural communities that are historically, culturally and financially connected to the national forests in their communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It is just another demonstration of the President’s commitment to Building A Better America by making sure the people, communities and resources of rural America are supported, protected and uplifted.”

“The Secure Rural Schools program is one of many ways USDA supports rural communities and provides a consistent source of funding in areas near national forests,” Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said. “In addition to funding for schools and counties, the program also reimburses counties for emergency services on national forests and is instrumental in the development of community wildfire protection plans.”

The Forest Service retains a portion of Secure Rural Schools program funds to support projects that improve forest conditions and support jobs in rural communities. Resource advisory committees, made up of residents representing varied interests and areas of expertise, review and recommend projects that meet their local needs.

Since 1908, 25% of Forest Service revenues from timber sales, mineral leases, livestock grazing, recreation fees, and other funding sources are shared with states and counties that have national forests. By the 1990s, Forest Service payments from these sources began to decline, largely because of long-term diminished volume in timber sales. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 authorized enhanced payments to help states and counties fund local services otherwise at risk because of this decline in revenue.

Over the past 10 years, the Forest Service has distributed $2.6 billion through the Secure Rural Schools program. This year, states will receive $238 million for distribution to counties. Each state’s payment amount is determined by various factors set in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the number of counties electing to share in a state's payment.

The FY2021 payments to states are as follows:

  • Alabama: $1,670,594
  • Alaska: $10,837,773
  • Arizona: $10,256,983
  • Arkansas: $6,531,375
  • California: $29,942,287
  • Colorado: $12,607,415
  • Florida: $2,448,362
  • Georgia: $1,345,896
  • Idaho: $23,429,141
  • Illinois: $216,886
  • Indiana: $239,561
  • Kentucky: $1,374,760
  • Louisiana: $1,663,020
  • Maine: $65,287
  • Michigan: $3,148,787
  • Minnesota: $2,182,610
  • Mississippi: $4,788,035
  • Missouri: $3,207,927
  • Montana: $14,382,681
  • Nebraska: $170,796
  • Nevada: $3,495,275
  • New Hampshire: $433,007
  • New Mexico: $9,800,134
  • New York: $18,450
  • North Carolina: $1,583,135
  • North Dakota: $389
  • Ohio: $226,258
  • Oklahoma: $950,528
  • Oregon: $47,971,375
  • Pennsylvania: $2,885,493
  • Puerto Rico: $190,294
  • South Carolina: $1,549,601
  • South Dakota: $1,373,536
  • Tennessee: $1,071,967
  • Texas: $2,141,942
  • Utah: $8,206,677
  • Vermont: $285,596
  • Virginia: $1,484,018
  • Washington: $16,020,514
  • West Virginia: $1,615,891
  • Wisconsin: $1,506,980
  • Wyoming: $5,012,315

TOTAL: $238,333,552

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender

Bankhead Liaison Panel Meeting - May 3rd in Double Springs


The next meeting of the Bankhead Liaison Panel will be held Tuesday, May 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. at the First National Bank, 15305 Highway 278, Double Springs, Alabama.  Meeting topics will include an update on the proposed Pinetucky Longleaf Woodland Project, the Bankhead Woodlands Stewardship Proposal and upcoming contract offerings, Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area Hunts, and Wild Alabama Recreation Monitoring projects.  The meeting will adjourn by 8:00 p.m.  The meeting is open to the public.  Anyone interested in the management of the Bankhead National Forest is invited.  If you have any questions, please call 205-489-5111.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

April Council Meeting - Self Property

 The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at the Bill and Ann Self property on April 21st.  We will depart the Bankhead National Forest office at 9:00 AM and meet at the Self property at 9:45 AM.  We will plan a landowner field day with Marion County Forestry Planning Committee. Contact Mike Henshaw or Allison Cochran for meeting site directions, if you choose not to caravan from the Bankhead National Forest office.