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Alabama Wild Power Program Deadline May 31
Several other Alabama programs offer wildlife assistance to hunters.
By John Trussell
Posted Friday May 11 2018, 9:31 AM
Plant good food plots and manage your woodlands properly, and soon you may see good buck on your land.
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Plant it, and they will come!

That is the wish of every hunter who sticks a seed in the ground. Work hard in planning, planting and managing a game food plot, then maybe your cost and sweat will pay off in increased sightings and harvest of game animals on your property.

In the movie “Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner thought that if he built a baseball field next to a corn patch, the baseball stars of his dreams would magically appear, and the biggest baseball game of all time would take place. Nice thought and great movie, but here in the real world, we must deal with facts.  Getting a good food plot up and growing is a very real possibility with some planning and work.

One of the best programs out there for hunters to consider is the Wild Power program. It is a rights-of-way management campaign designed to create new wildlife lands along electrical transmission lines. It offers cash grants and professional wildlife management advice to groups and individuals committed to rights-of-way brush control and habitat improvement.

These rights of ways vary from 50 to 500 feet in width, cover thousands of acres and must be managed to prevent undesirable growth that could interfere with the normal delivery of power. Project Wild Power is important since it helps people transform rights-of-ways into productive wildlife habitat, ensuring healthier wildlife populations, while providing the safe and efficient delivery of energy to the good people of Alabama. It’s a win-win situation for citizens and wildlife.

Grant awards are based on the amount of rights-of-way to be managed. Monies are paid over three years at a flat rate of $50 per acre per year, for a maximum of 10 acres. Acceptable management practices include: mowing with fallow disking, annual plantings and permanent plantings. Grants are paid within 60 days of work completion, as reported by the local NRCS office.

Scott Dawson, a Southern Company Transmission Utility Arborist Senior, says these grants are only for the largest high-power transmission lines, and smaller, single-pole lines that only serve small areas are not eligible.

Applications are accepted though May 31 only,  and only through the website, so get your application in soon!

New applications will be given first priority over previously awarded applicants. Otherwise, qualifying applications will be funded in the order they are received until funds are depleted.

A local District Conservationist will help eligible applicants develop a wildlife conservation plan. Alabama Power will verify the transmission rights-of-way and issue their respective incentive payments at year end.

To fill out the application online, go to www.alabamapower.com. The website will guide you to your local District Conservationist.

The program is the collaborative effort of Alabama Power and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Remember the deadline is May 31, 2108. Plant it, and they will come!
Alabama Tree Farm and Stewardship Forest Programs

There are two other related conservation programs that may interest you if you desire to gain the most benefit from your land and preserve wildlife. The Alabama Tree Farm program recognizes landowners who are managing their land well. As a certified Tree Farmer, a landowner receives periodic mailings of the American Tree Farmer magazine. They also receive a certificate and the familiar green and white Tree Farm sign to display on their property. The Tree Farm program provides for periodic visits by professional foresters to help the landowners keep their forests productive.  

Leigh Peters, Director of Land Owner Programs, with the  Alabama Forestry Association, is the contact point for the program. The  phone number is (334) 265-8733 or you can e-mail her at lpeters@alaforestry.org.

Get more information at www.treefarmsystem.org.

A closely related program is the Alabama Forestry Stewardship program. A Forest Stewardship management plan can be provided to landowners interested in managing their forestland for multiple-use purposes, such as timber, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, aesthetics and soil and water conservation. This is a detailed and comprehensive management plan written by natural resource professionals with backgrounds in forestry, wildlife biology, soil science and recreation management. Landowners with an interest in multiple-use management begin by completing an official application which details their interests and objectives. The resource professional responsible for constructing the plan will evaluate the property and develop a management program to help the landowner reach their objectives while improving the management of all resources.

For more information on  the Stewardship program, contact Allen Varner, Stewardship Coordinator, at (334) 240-9308 or go to www.forestry.alabama.gov.
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