Critical watershed in Escambia County
Special to Atmore News
The Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee (ALSWCC) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA / APHIS’s Wildlife Services and Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) to address feral hog control. Alabama has been awarded $3.7 million through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) to control feral hogs in selected watersheds.
The Alabama Feral Hog Council reports that feral hogs cause an estimated $44 million in agriculture damage in Alabama each year. The council credits illegal transport of feral hogs for hunting purposes as the leading cause of feral hogs population expansion. High reproduction and low natural mortality make them hard to control. Through the FSCP, the Alabama partnership will work in selected watersheds to help eligible landowners control the growing problem.
“Feral swine are the cause of significant damage to crops and grazing lands, while also impacting the health of our natural resources,” ALSWCC Chairman of Charles Holmes said.
AACD President Micky Smith said, “AACD is partnering in this project to educate and reach out to landowners about the problem with feral swine and the program here in Alabama. Our hope is to control this invasive species – improving operations for farmers while also protecting our natural resources for the future.”
NRCS and Wildlife Services are working with ALSWCC on FSCP. The group defined the critical watersheds in Henry, Houston, Escambia, Baldwin, and Sumter counties. The program will run three years with the goal to significantly reduce environmental and economic damages caused by feral hogs.
“I am very excited to see the potential the Feral Swine Control Program can have in Escambia County. Through increased landowner participation, both the agricultural industry and the environment can reap the rewards of this program’s efforts,” Escambia County Soil and Water District Chairman Broox Garrett said.
If you live in one of the three watershed areas and you’re interested in controlling feral hogs on your property, contact your local district at www.alconservationdistricts.org or contact your local District Feral Swine Coordinator at Escambia County, Braxton Chastang, (251) 753-4886.