Gopher tortoise laying eggs on freshly cultivated field.
Gopher tortoises are fairly elusive creatures. Usually the only sign you see of them is their burrows or ravaged foliage.
But recently a Mobile, Ala., tortoise allowed Marshall Colburn, a Soil Conservation Technician with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a rare, up-close-and-personal moment as she laid her eggs in a freshly cultivated field. Read more »
Roads and bridges are vital links that connect communities to their national forests. For residents living near the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests, their drive to the woods is now safer while also protecting natural resources thanks to recent construction projects for two forest bridges.
The Forest Service replaced the Pine Glen Bridge near Helflin, Ala., on the Talladega National Forest with funding support from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The Forest Service also supported the construction of the Brushy Creek Bridge near Double Springs, Ala., on the Bankhead National Forest. The projects employed local community workers who built the bridges which are now helping to improve habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, reducing sediment deposits in the local streams and rivers, and improving access for visitors. Read more »
Volunteers on the Talladega National Forest work to help keep forest recreation areas like the Pine Glen campgrounds clean and ready for visitors. U.S. Forest Service photo.
Volunteers play an integral part in helping the Forest Service reach its annual goals in managing healthy national forests. And on Alabama’s Talladega National Forest, three exceptional volunteers have dedicated countless hours towards this work: John Calhoun, Ray Bittle and Charles Laminack. Read more »
Last spring and summer I had the opportunity to investigate two 1,000 year old archeological sites on a Montgomery County farm. Working with me were archeologists from Troy University and Auburn University at Montgomery, their students and volunteers from the Alabama Archeological Society. Our goal was to determine if the two sites were important to understanding the prehistory of Alabama and should be preserved.
Troy University students conduct shovel tests in an attempt to discover how far the archeological site extends into the woods from the row crop field.
I was on the farm because I am the Cultural Resources Specialist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alabama. The farmer was planning to implement conservation practices on the land with NRCS’ assistance, so my job was to review the property and planned practices to determine whether we’d be adversely affecting the two archeological sites. Read more »
L-R: Orlando Housing Authority President Vivian Bryant; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Rural Development Florida State Director Richard Machek and Rural Development Florida Single Family Housing Program Director Daryl Cooper participated in a business roundtable in Orlando, Fla., last Friday. They discussed the USDA Rural Development Home Refinancing Pilot Program which is available to USDA borrowers in 19 states.
When most people think of Orlando, Florida, they envision exciting theme parks, Cinderella’s castle and a mouse with big ears. But when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Orlando on February 24th, it was with a different vision in mind. Read more »
In June, President Obama established the Rural Council, which is chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. As a result, numerous rural roundtables have been held and will continue to be held throughout the country.
Revitalizing rural America is a priority to this Administration. The rural roundtables are an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input, identify challenges and make recommendations.
On my recent trip to the great state of Alabama, my USDA colleagues from Rural Development, Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported me at a rural roundtable held in the community of Dothan. We had excellent attendance and constructive input from community leaders attending. Read more »