9711 East Pike
Cambridge, OH 43725

Our Mission

Promote through education and technical assistance, the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Importance of Oaks

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO - Dave Apsley, Natural Resources Specialist - OSU Extension Jackson County, will be the featured speaker at the Oct. 1 8 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA).  Dave's program will explain the many-faceted reasons that oak trees are probably the most important tree species in Ohio.

ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics.   The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at McDonald-Marlite Lewis Conference Center, 143 McDonald Drive NW in New Philadelphia.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Updates to GSWCD area at the Fairgrounds.

I hope everyone has had a good week at the Fair so far!! If you haven't noticed yet, The Guernsey SWCD area has been dramatically updated. There is now a new Kiosk with tons of information and a Cover Crop Display off to the left of the building. Where the pond use to be, is now a picnic area so that people can sit and enjoy their meals. Also, there is now a pathway to the building filled in with rocks for easy access to our building. Check out the new updates to the GSWCD area when you are out at the fair!!!! We will be at our Fair building Friday from around 11:30 am to 6 pm for anyone with questions. Please check our our Facebook page as well as our blogspot at guernseysoil.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


COLUMBUS, September 10, 2014 – Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Department of Agriculture’s investment of $328 million to help private landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands. The 2014 Farm Bill created the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, or ACEP, to protect critical wetlands and keep lands in farming for the future.

“Conservation easements help farmers protect valuable agricultural lands from development while enhancing lands best suited for grazing and wetlands to their natural conditions,” State Conservationist Terry Cosby said. “These easements have a dramatic and positive impact on food supply, rural communities, and wildlife habitat.”

Through ACEP, private landowners and eligible conservation partners can request assistance from USDA to protect and restore agricultural land through an agricultural or wetland easement.

Ohio landowners and farmland protection organizations submitted 93 applications requesting $18 million in ACEP funding for conservation easements and wetland restorations. Ohio received $8.3 million for purchasing 17 high quality conservation easements through ACEP, which will protect and restore about 4,500 acres of Ohio’s prime farmland and wetlands.

Farmland and wetlands with conservation easements benefit Ohio residents by improving water quality, providing critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and preventing the development of prime farmland, which increases food security and provides jobs.

ACEP consolidates three former NRCS easement programs – Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, Grasslands Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program – into two components – one that protects farmlands and grasslands and another that protects and restores critical wetlands.

“The 2014 Farm Bill streamlined USDA’s major easement programs into one to make it as easy as possible for landowners to participate,” State Conservationist Cosby said.

Find more information on ACEP here. To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or local your USDA service center.  Kim Ray, the District Conservationist for the Guernsey/Noble NRCS office can be reached at 740-432-5621

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Warmer weather helps Ohio crops

September 8, 2014 By John Perkins Brownfield Ag News for America

A warmer than normal week helped out crop development around Ohio, but the state branch of the National Ag Statistics Service notes farmers are wary about the chance of an early frost, because weather has been unpredictable.
Temperatures around the state last week were more than 4 degrees warmer than normal and rainfall averaged just under nine tenths of an inch.
93% of corn is at the dough making stage, compared to the five year average of 94%, with 60% dented, compared to 66% on average, and 8% mature, compared to 13% on average. 14% of corn has been harvested for silage and 76% of the crop is rated good to excellent.
12% of soybeans are dropping leaves, compared to 20% on average, with 71% of beans called good to excellent.

State Touts Increased Shale Production; Environmentalists Fight Proposed Pipeline & Coal Permitting Changes

Horizontally fractured wells in Ohio produced more gas in the last three months than production from all of the wells in the state during 2012, the Department of Natural Resources
announced Monday.  Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced 2.47 million barrels of oil and 88.67 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the second quarter of 2014, according to ODNR's latest tally.  The quarterly report comes two months after ODNR lauded a spike in production during 2013, when natural gas output from the Utica Shale doubled 2012 totals. Of the 562 wells in the report, 504 reported production results with the remaining 58 still waiting on pipeline infrastructure.  For the producing wells, the average amount of oil produced was 4,895 barrels and 175,939 Mcf of natural gas.  The highest producing oil well was the Antero Resources "Myron" well in Noble County at 78,309 barrels of oil in 91 days of production. The highest producing natural gas well was the Hall Drilling "Hercher North" well in Monroe County at 1.4 billion cubic feet during 91 days of production.

Water Quality: The Ohio Environmental Council decried the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's proposed changes to the nationwide 401 water quality certification process for pipeline and coal mining activities that impact wetlands and streams.  "Per Ohio EPA's proposal, many oil and gas pipelines and most coal remining projects will now be approved under Nationwide Permits with no state water quality review, and will result in serious irreversible water quality impacts statewide," OEC attorney Nathan Johnson said in written testimony provided during a recent hearing on the proposal.  OEPA has said the proposal would streamline the 401 certification process to make it more efficient. The proposed changes would eliminate certain state environmental review thresholds for pipelines and coal surface "remining" projects that span wetlands and streams that are already weaker than those of West Virginia and Kentucky, Mr. Johnson said.  "Even more projects will avoid requirements for impact avoidance and minimization. Ohio EPA is also surrendering state oversight and enforcement authority over the mitigation of pipelines and mining impacts," he said.  Mr. Johnson also questioned the coal industry's influence on the proposal, noting emails obtained through public records requests show likely coordination with the Ohio Coal Association.

Christian Palich, the Coal Association's manager of government affairs, said the proposed changes would make the 401 certification process for remining activities more consistent with a similar federal permitting process through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Moreover, the proposed changes would apply regulations to remining in old surface mines that were mined before federal Clean Water Act projections took effect, he said. "Every project will benefit water quality because we are taking pre-law mining areas and lifting the hydrology."

September 9 is Protect Your Groundwater Day!

Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other promotional partners of  the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) encourage everyone to protect public health and the environment by protecting groundwater.    In the United States, 44 percent of the population regularly depends on groundwater, and 42 million Americans rely on privately owned and operated household water wells for their drinking water supply. Another 88 million residents rely on groundwater-supplied community water systems.   Household water-well owners in particular, can make a major difference in water quality by how they manage their well systems and property.  People who do not have household wells can also make huge contributions to groundwater quality by taking steps to conserve water and maintain their septic system. For more information, go to www.ngwa.org

Friday, September 5, 2014

Additional Funding Enhances Ohio’s Water Quality Improvement Efforts

US EPA grants will provide $7.4 million to combat Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB)

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced Ohio will receive $7.4 million in federal grants to continue successful water quality initiatives already underway and reduce harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding was granted after a meeting between U.S. EPA leaders and the Directors of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) and Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Ohio has committed substantial efforts and resources toward improving water quality including:

More than $150 million for water treatment plant upgrades, water testing and HAB research
Mandatory fertilizer application certification for Ohio farmers, with classes starting this month
Implementation of agricultural best management practices in the Lake Erie Watershed
Reduction of open lake disposal of dredge material

The additional funding will be administered through the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative and will target soil testing, the planting of winter cover crops, installation of controlled drainage structures, precision soil testing and fertilizer management, the construction of manure storage and roofed feedlots and expanded tributary monitoring.

ODNR will work with soil and water conservation districts in the Maumee Watershed to connect with farmers and implement the above best management practices. Previous Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative programs have waiting lists of farmers wanting to participate and ODNR anticipates great interest in the enhanced programs. Ohio EPA will initiate the enhanced monitoring to continue to track the effectiveness of these best management practices.

A link to the U.S. EPA release can be found at http://bit.ly/usepagrants

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Field Night for Woodland Owners

Field Night for Woodland Owners – “Preparing for a Timber Harvest” offered on September 30th in Hocking County

Proper preparation is key to accomplishing goals
and minimizing damage to your woodlands
Woodland owners often turn to their woodlands for income, but often they don’t use this occasion to improve their forest for wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and future timber production.  The Ohio State University Extension-Hocking County, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Forestry, and the Vinton and Hocking County SWCDs are partnering to offer a program designed to help woodland owners understand the process of preparing for a timber harvest.   Topics covered will include:
  •  Inventorying and Marking for a Timber Harvest
  •  Best Management Practices 
  • Notice of Intent to Harvest and Timber Harvest Planning – SWCD 
  • Wildlife Habitat Improvement 
  • Timber Stand Improvement 
  • Improving access for future use 
  • Call Before You Cut  (http://callb4ucut.com; 1-877-424-8288) and other resources available to help woodland owners with the process of harvesting timber 
This program will be presented by: Mark Rickey, ODNR-Division of Forestry; Cody Hacker, Vinton County SWCD; Dave Apsley, OSU Extension, Jerry Iles, OSU Extension-Hocking County, and Amelia Hettinger, Hocking County SWCD.  
It will take place on Tuesday, September 30th from 5 pm to dark at the Patnode Farm near the intersection of SR 180 and SR 678.  
This program qualifies for 2.5 credits under the Ohio Forest Tax Law Program.  
Space is limited so please register by Friday, September 26th.  
For more information and to register please contact  Jerry Iles at The Ohio State University Extension-Hocking County (740-385-3222 or iles.9@osu.edu).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Forest Mngt for Wildlife seminar

Lee Crocker, Ohio Regional Biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will be the featured speaker at the Sep. 3 8 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA).  Lee will share techniques that forest landowners can practice to enhance habitat crucial for wild turkeys and other native wildlife.

ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics.   The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at McDonald-Marlite Lewis Conference Center, 143 McDonald Drive NW in New Philadelphia.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farm Science Review

The annual Farm Science Review is September 16-18 near London Ohio.  Please plan to attend, and be sure to visit the Gwynne Conservation Area.  There is a full schedule of educational programs at the Gwynne during the review - check their website  HERE   for a complete listing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Prep Pastures For Winter Grazing

 For livestock producers who are pasture based, management now can determine what, if any, extended season grazing will be done in the late fall to winter months, according to Rory Lewandoski, with OSU Extension. There are two main options that can be used to extend the grazing season; stockpiling perennial forages and/or planting cool season annual forages, he says.

"Stockpiling forage is the most economical option to extend the grazing season," he says. "Stockpiling is simply the process of letting a pasture paddock or hay field grow and accumulate growth that will be grazed at a later date."
Read rest if article  HERE

“Young Forests and Wildlife Habitat” offered on September 12th to Woodland Owners and Enthusiasts at the Vinton Furnace State Forest

“Young Forests and Wildlife Habitat” offered on September 12th to Woodland Owners and Enthusiasts at the Vinton Furnace State Forest

Thanks to Our Guest Sponsor-Wildlife Management Institute
Thanks to Our Guest Sponsor-Wildlife Management Institute
Oh, to be young again… Ohio’s forests are getting older and this has caused a decline in many wildlife species like ruffed grouse, woodcock and several species of songbirds.   “The 2nd Friday Series” program on “Young Forests and Wildlife Habitat” will inform woodland owners and enthusiasts of the loss of Ohio’s young forests and the value of this critical habitat.  Most landowners have some understanding of the value of old forests and wetlands.  This program will help owners to understand the critical wildlife habitat that these young forests provide. Continue reading