Thursday, June 25, 2009

Smith Lake Watershed Meeting

A meeting was held on June 17th by Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. (WCSLAI) about possible efforts to improve the Smith Lake watershed. Of particular concern is Rock Creek, which is on the state's 303d list as an impaired stream. At the meeting opening comments were made by LaVerne Matheson of WCSLAI. Dr. Bill Deutsch, Director of the Alabama Water Watch, and Auburn graduate student, Mona Scruggs, presented information about the lake. They also mentioned the possibility of securing grant funds to improve the Rock Creek watershed. To receive these funds a Watershed Plan would need to be developed. Dr. Sam Fowler, Director of the Alabama Water Resources Research Institute at Auburn University, also spoke to the group about the benefits of a watershed plan. He highlighted the resources at Auburn University that could be used to help implement a plan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Matheson Honored with Mosley Environmental Award

Winston County resident LaVerne Matheson has been selected as the recipient of the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award. The prestigious award, administered by Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, recognizes individual achievements in promoting the wiser use of renewable natural resources. Matheson was nominated for his outstanding efforts to conserve the water resources of Winston County and Smith Lake while educating residents and local leaders about our unique natural resources.

Matheson led the effort to establish Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy, Inc in 2006 and has served as President of the group since that time. The Advocacy group’s mission is to preserve and protect the environmental quality of Lewis Smith Lake and its tributaries through education of the public and promotion and implementation of sound environmental practices. “Laverne Matheson is the backbone of the group and is responsible for a number of achievements.” states Linda Atkinson, secretary/treasurer of Smith Lake Advocacy. Bankhead National Forest’s Wildlife Biologist Tom Counts commented that “Laverne is one of those unique individuals who saw a need and acted on it. He has put in many, many hours of personal time to organize the Advocacy group. By effectively enlisting the support of many hard working people the group has achieved much success.” Some of the group’s achievements include testing Smith Lake’s water at 18 sites in Winston County as a part of the Alabama Water Watch effort and working with Alabama Power Company’s Renew Our Rivers program. Through the Renew Our Rivers waterways clean-up program over 45 river miles have been cleaned-up resulting in an estimated 550 tons of debris removed from our waters. “Not only does LaVerne do the work of conserving our natural resources, he is committed to teaching others about their importance” states Winston County Extension Coordinator Mike Henshaw.

Matheson will be honored during the June Renew Our Rivers clean-up on Smith Lake. The clean-up will be held at the Clear Creek Recreation Area on Bankhead National Forest June 11-13. Volunteers, sponsors, and friends of the Lake are invited to Saturday’s picnic at the Bayleaf Pavilion at Clear Creek, where Matheson will receive the Mosley Environmental Award. The Award includes a certificate of recognition, a cash award, and a framed, limited-edition reproduction of a forestry-wildlife painting.