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Alabama Black Belt Feral Swine Control Pilot Project

Points of Contact

Ben Malone
State Conservationist 
USDA-NRCS Office
3381 Skyway Drive
Auburn, Al 36830
334-887-4500

Ken Gruver
State Director 
USDA-APHIS Office
602 Duncan Drive,
Auburn University, AL 36849
334-734-0613

Project Area

Alabama Wildlife Services and Natural Resources Conservation Service will coordinate and implement feral swine control efforts on designated watersheds that include agriculturally rich areas within Alabama. This proposed pilot project area has a high percentage of open land used for cattle production, intermixed with riparian forests. The project will encompass controlling feral swine populations in riparian habitats which infiltrate pasture and hay/and acres. These riparian habitats are safe harbors for feral swine, providing them shade, water and refuge during the daytime hours. They also serve as travel corridors, which often provide connectivity to preferable habitats. Because of this, these riparian areas make perfect locations to conduct feral swine control efforts and subsequent damage reduction. Watershed areas have been identified by the State Technical Committee (STC) and collaborative partners as the prioritized focal points of the watershed pilot project. This watershed is located in the Black Belt Region of Alabama.
 
The specific watersheds in this Sumter County pilot area are:  

  • Qui/by Creek-Bodka Creek watershed encompassing 12,487 acres.
  • Shumulla Creek-Sucarnoochee River watershed encompassing 16,893 acres north of I-20. Wiggins Creek-Jones Creek encompassing 11,918 acres north of I-20.
  • Factory Creek watershed encompassing 23,244 acres north of I-20.

FSCP Alabama Black Belt Map

Hiring of Trapping Technicians

NRCS funds are available for partners to hire technicians to assist with feral swine trapping efforts under the supervision of APHIS.

  • 1 Landowner Outreach Technician (20 hr/week)
    • Facilitate landowner contacts and assist APHIS and Auburn University with property access
    • Funded for the life of the project
    • Point of Contact on postcards to landowners
    • Make first contact and meet with landowners
    • Get APHIS release forms and Auburn University Extension paperwork signed
    • Brief APHIS trapper on details about the property

Estimated Equipment Needed

NRCS funds may be used for the equipment necessary for the pilot project. Further questions about the equipment needed, the amount, and use of the equipment should be directed to the point of contract for the project. It is expected that the following equipment will be crucial for the implementation of the project within the pilot area:

  • Traps
    • Smart traps to be used by APHIS employees
    • Low-tech or high-tech traps to be used by trained landowners
    • Could remain in the control of partner for landowner use after the life of the project
  • Cell service
  • Bait
  • Cameras for monitoring traps
  • Directional signal booster antenna
  • Monthly data cost for traps
  • Cell phone
  • Vehicle (maintenance and fuel)
  • Drones
  • Water quality testing
  • Disease testing on euthanized pigs

Monitoring/Evaluation Requirements of Partner

Due to the new nature of the pilot program, it will be crucial to collect, monitor, and evaluate data regarding feral swine populations, agricultural damage, and environmental concerns. For this project, partners are expected to:

  • Assist Auburn University Research and Extension as needed for the monitoring of project progress
    • Both before and after feral swine removal

Anticipated Partnerships within the Project

It is important that the partner be able to work with the below entities, as well as state and local governments that work in the pilot areas.

  • Sub-agreement with Auburn University Extension to monitor damage and progress of pig removal through use of drones and as well as water quality testing and disease testing on euthanized pigs
  • University of West Alabama and Sumter County Soil and Water District will be assisting with this project by providing assistance with trapping
  • Auburn University Extension will be responsible for monitoring and evaluation

Outreach/Education Expectations

Education and outreach will be essential aspects of the project to ensure landowners are educated on the need for removing feral swine, approved techniques, and methods for controlling feral swine populations. Partners are expected to assist with outreach and education activities in the following ways:

  • Graphic design of postcards to landowners
  • Mailing information and contacting landowners about participating in the project
  • Lead 2 outreach meetings (minimum) for the project
  • Work with other partners to help publicize project (e.g., Wildlife Federation, Cattleman’s Association, Farmer’s Federation, etc.)

Additional Partner Requirements

  • Coordinator for other partner issues, such as working with other partners to ensure project success. (Example: work with ADCNR and local law enforcement to ensure pigs are not being re-released after removal)