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Archive for the ‘Outdoors Recreation’ Category

Audubon Christmas Bird Counts will be held throughout Alabama and the rest of the nation in the coming weeks, an annual event almost 120 years old that helps with research data-gathering and getting folks oudoors.

The bird counts began as part of an effort to tally and watch trends during a time of heavy commercial hunting. Due to demands for meat in restaurants and plumage for women’s apparel — most of both coming from the biggest cities of the nation — commercial hunting was wild and untamed.

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Sandhill cranes are among the most popular species spotted at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in north Alabama during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. These stately birds migrate each year and are growing in number thanks to conservation efforts. (Photo: USFWS)

Between a great conservation movement of many people, the formation of state wildlife agencies, federal bird treaties and other events including the Audubon bird counts, regulations, limits and controls were imposed. The tides shifted and today one part of the conservation success story of the 1900s still continues.

In Alabama, you can find several Audubon bird counts throughout the state. One of the most popular, and one I’ve attended, is on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. It’s based at the refuge visitor’s center in Decatur but volunteer counters visit property on the refuge, Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area and other sites.

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Working Lands for Wildlife Projects in the Southeast

Working Lands for Wildlife Projects in the Southeast

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative moved a step closer to two of its major goals for landscape restoration of wild bobwhites – reconnecting cattle and quail, and reconnecting forests and quail – when the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the approval in December 2016 of two NBCI-led proposals to recognize bobwhites in the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife program.

“We were really pumped to receive two bobwhite proposals,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller, announcing the approval while on a Missouri farm. “These projects represent what’s best for America-family ownership, conservation, helping communities and partnerships.”

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Advancements in sonar and GPS technology are now helping anglers catch more fish in Alabama’s state lakes. The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has updated State Public Fishing Lake contour maps originally produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

The new maps are more accurate, have finer detail and are less expensive to produce. Contour maps are available via the State Public Fishing Lakes page on the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website, outdooralabama.com.

“The older maps varied in depth and lacked the detail of the newer maps,” said Matt Marshall, WFF State Lakes Supervisor. “By updating the contour maps we hope to provide better information for anglers to catch more fish.”

To access the maps, click “state fishing lakes” in the Fishing drop-down menu on outdooralabama.com. From the state lakes page, click the link titled “Updated Contour and Depth Maps.” Then check State-Public Fishing Lakes, Lake Contours and Lake Depth under the Fishing option to the left of the interactive map and zoom in on the lake you would like to view.

The new maps are also available by clicking the “map” icon on the outdooralabama.com homepage.

WFF owns and operates 23 State Public Fishing Lakes in 20 counties throughout Alabama. These lakes range in size from 13 to 184 acres with a total of 1,912 surface acres. For more information about State Public Fishing Lakes, call the WFF Fisheries Section at 334-242-3471, or visitwww.outdooralabama.com/alabama-state-public-fishing-lakes.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

SOURCEAlabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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paddlers-can-reserve-one-of-six-camping-shelters-along-the-perdido-river-that-accommodate-up-to-eight-people-each-photo-adcnr

Paddlers can reserve one of six camping shelters along the Perdido River that accommodate up to eight people each. (Photo: ADCNR)

The Alabama State Lands Division has launched its new canoe trails website, www.alabamacanoetrails.com, with information and maps needed to plan an adventure on the Bartram Canoe Trail or the newly opened Perdido River Canoe Trail.

The site also makes it easy for paddlers to make overnight camping reservations for both trails.

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