335C Old National Rd
P.O.Box 310
Old Washington, OH 43768
Fax: 489-5278

Our Mission

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

ECOFA meeting August 5th

DOVER, OHIO -  At the August 5 7:00 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA), Jamey Emmert, a Wildlife Communications Specialist with the Division of Wildlife will speak on the great outdoors.  She previously was the the Ohio Fish & Wildlife Management Association, ODNR, and The Wilds conservation facility.

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 the Dover Library, 525 N. Walnut St. Dover, OH.

Ohio's Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons Begin Sept. 1

Ohio's Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons Begin Sept. 1


COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Wildlife Council approved early migratory bird hunting season dates, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Sept. 1 is Ohio’s opening day for mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe hunting seasons.
Ohio’s dove 2015 hunting season dates are Sept. 1-Nov. 8, and Dec. 12-Jan. 1, 2016. The daily limit is 15 birds with a possession limit of 45 birds after the second day. Dove hunting dates were extended 20 days last year, and that extended season will continue in 2015.
Additional hunting seasons approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council include the following dates.
  • Special early season Canada goose: Sept. 1-15. Daily limit of five; possession limit of 15 after the second day.
  • Early teal: Sept. 5-20. Daily limit of six; possession limit of 18 after the second day.
  • Sora rail and Virginia rail: Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily limit of 25; possession limit of 75 after the second day.
  • Common moorhen: Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily limit of 15; possession limit of 45 after the second day.
  • Common snipe: Sept. 1-Nov. 29 and Dec. 19-Jan. 4, 2016. Daily limit of eight; possession limit of 24 after the second day.
  • American woodcock: Oct. 10-Nov. 23. Daily limit of three; possession limit of nine after the second day.
Waterfowl hunters must have a valid hunting license in addition to an Ohio wetlands habitat stamp endorsement, a federal duck stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification. Hunters must obtain a new HIP certification each year to hunt any migratory game bird season. Call 877-HIP-OHIO (447-6446) to complete the HIP certification. Licenses, permits and stamps are available online at the Wild Ohio Customer Center. Federal duck stamps are available at duckstamp.com.
New this year, hunters can carry a valid receipt for a federal duck stamp, or an e-stamp, in place of a signed stamp for 45 days after purchase. An Ohio wetlands habitat stamp endorsement and a federal duck stamp are not required to hunt doves, rails, moorhens, snipe and woodcock.
Controlled dove hunts will be offered Tuesday, Sept. 1, and Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Fallsville, Rush Run, Spring Valley, Indian Creek and Bott state wildlife areas. Controlled dove hunts will also be offered at St. Marys State Fish Hatchery on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Wednesday, Sept. 2, Saturday, Sept. 5, Saturday, Sept. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 19. Hunting hours are noon to sunset for all controlled dove hunts.
Opening day drawings for all of these hunts will take place at noon on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the respective public area headquarters. Bott Wildlife Area will hold its drawings at the Indian Creek Headquarters. Drawings for the other hunts will be held the day of the hunt at noon. Maps and details are available at wildohio.gov. Questions about these hunts should be directed to the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District Five office at 937-372-9261.
The 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations are available at wildohio.gov and at license outlets. The 2015 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure will be available in August.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website atohiodnr.gov.
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For more information, contact:
Brian Plasters, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Stephanie Leis, ODNR Office of Communications

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Report Finds Utica Shale Productivity Increased Rapidly

Ohio's Utica Shale region contributed significantly to the country's overall natural gas production growth over the past three years, according to a report issued Tuesday.  Combined with production in the Marcellus shale region, which includes West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania and New York, the two shale plays were responsible for 85% of the growth in U.S. shale gas production since 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's said.  "The productivity of natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale and the neighboring Utica Shale is steadily increasing because of ongoing improvements in precision and efficiency of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing occurring in those regions," the EIA analysis said.

While the Marcellus region accounted for most of the increased natural gas production, growth in the newer Utica play outpaced all the other major shale regions that the EIA tracked in recent years.  In October 2013, natural gas production in the Utica totaled 2.4 million cubic feet per day, a figure that grew to nearly 7 million MMcf/d in June of this year, according to EIA.  Total natural gas production in the Utica increased rapidly, although it has leveled off somewhat in recent months. Production in July 2015 was almost 18 times higher than in January 2013.  The rate of productivity in the Utica region went from 0.31 MMcf/d per drilling rig in January 2012 to 6.9 MMcf/d per rig by July 2015, the federal agency said.  EIA attributed the increases in natural gas production from the Utica and Marcellus to several factors, including:  Greater use of advanced drilling techniques; Increased number of stages used in hydraulic fracturing operations;  New techniques like "zipper fracturing," or simultaneous fracturing of individual stages of two parallel horizontal wells; and, Use of specific components during well completion that aid in increasing fracture size and porosity of the geologic formation being targeted.

While the drop in oil and gas prices that started last year has slowed down fracking around the country, the Utica play is the only one of the country's seven major shale regions that the EIA monitors where natural gas production is projected to increase next month.  Natural gas production in the Utica is expected to increase by 22 MMcf/d in August, according to EIA's July Drilling Productivity Report. Meanwhile, production is expected to drop 41 MMcf/d in the Marcellus and by as much as 122 MMcf/d in Texas's Eagle Ford region.  Despite the increase, the number of drilling rigs operating in the Utica has dropped from a high of more than 30 last year to about a dozen, the report says. The same trend is seen in other shale plays, like the Bakken in North Dakota, which went from nearly 200 rigs to about 75 in the last year.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance reported that the state has issued a total of 1,980 permits for drilling in the Utica Shale since December 2009 based on data from the Department of Natural Resources.  A total of 1,543 Utica wells have been drilled since December 2009, an increase of eight since ODNR's previous update on July 18, 2015, the industry group said. In addition, 926 wells are in production.  Carroll County has the most Utica Shale permits at 495. Harrison County has 365 permits and Belmont County has 239.

Duck Banding

By Levi Arnold, Wildlife/Forestry Specialist

As fall approaches, something’s are always a constant. Many people associate the leaves changing as a sign of fall. Many people notice birds beginning to migrate and to many, no migrational phenomenon is better than that of waterfowl. But do you ever wonder how do we ever know where these birds end up after departing where we last see them? Just how far can these things travel? Or, will they ever return back to the same spot?

Lots of research has been done over the years to determine the answers to all of these questions. Many state and federal angencies like the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) work in colaboration with each other to see that little tracking devices get put into place on these creatures in the form of metal bands. Once the ducklings or goslings are big enough, these creatures are unharmfully trapped and fitted with their very own piece of jewelry, think of it as an ankle bracelet. Each band is carefully placed around the young birds leg with enough space for the bird to grow and mature but yet it won't slip off of the bird's foot.

Each individual band has a different number on it; when the bird is fitted for a band the birds age, sex, and location is noted and then placed in a database. The way that this information is transferred back to the USGS is typically by telephone. When a hunter takes a bird that is fitted with a band they are encouraged to call the phone number on the band to report a series of questions that can help them gather valuable data.

Another way data is gathered is by recapturing birds during banding time that have already been fitted with a band. Their information is recorded and entered into a database to keep a track on that particular birds migrational pattern. After time, their origonal bands can become worn and illegible. If a recapture birds band is illegible, it is replaced and given a new band.

Banding waterfowl has lead to some pretty neat facts, like that the oldest waterfowl to ever be taken by a hunter were a Canvasback and a goose taken by two different people but both at the ripe old age of twenty-nine years old. With banding we also know that“Blue-winged teal migrate the farther south than any other North American waterfowl. A bluewing was banded near Oak Lake, Manitoba, was shot by a hunter near Lima, Peru, more than four thousand miles to the south.” (www.ducks.org)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Smokey Bear Greets Fairgoers

The Columbus Dispatch- Kathy Lynn Gray

A 21st-century Smokey Bear will greet Ohio State Fair visitors!
The retiring Smokey — an iconic figure at the fair for 55 years — could end up at a state-park lodge or a museum, or in a traveling exhibit.

After hesitating last summer, the state Controlling Board approved spending the $80,250 it  cost to create the new Smokey. The money is a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, but it needed board approval because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is contracting for the work.

Old Smokey didn’t move a muscle, but new Smokey will move his head up and down and side to side. His mouth will open and shut, and he’ll speak preprogrammed messages such as “Only you can prevent forest fires,” said Matt Eiselstein, a Natural Resources spokesman.

“We were looking for a lifelike experience for our little fairgoers,” Eiselstein said.

Like old Smokey, the new version will tower at 14 feet, with a shovel in one hand and a brown ranger hat atop his furry head.

His handlers still will sit in the adjacent building to give Smokey a voice. Workers still will quietly ask parents for their children’s names and convey the information to handlers so that Smokey can call the children by name.

“Many adults, including myself, remember going to the Natural Resources park as a child and being greeted by Smokey,” said fair spokeswoman Alicia Shoults. “Ohio families make it a point to see Smokey every year.”

Smokey Bear has been a fire-prevention spokesman nationwide for 70 years. The Forest Service created him after first considering a deer — the Disney movie Bambi was popular at the time — but the movie studio would authorize Bambi’s use for only a year, according to SmokeyBear.com. A bear was chosen instead and began promoting the message in 1944.

At Natural Resources, lots of ideas are being tossed around for old Smokey, but no decision has been made as to where he’ll land, Eiselstein said.

No matter where he goes, he’ll have to be spruced up a bit, perhaps getting new fur and a new pair of blue jeans (waist size: 154 inches).

“Old Smokey has been quite a trouper, standing out in the rain and sun and heat for more than

50 years,” Eiselstein said. “It was time for a new one.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Conservation Camp - Back to the Basics - Day 2

Day Two:  Another perfectly gorgeous day, perfect for hiking in the woods. Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Levi Arnold, took the kids on a walk to show them the different plants and trees that grow in the woods and discuss wildlife habitat.
Longtime volunteer Dee Carter, retired science teacher, taught a class on basic soil information. As usual she made what might seem like a boring subject fun!
 The kids got to make an edible soil profile with marshmallows, Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, M&Ms, and as a final topping, gummy worms. Each item represented a different component of the soil profile: bedrock, subsoil, topsoil, humus & vegetation, and the decomposers that turn organic matter into rich soil fertilizers.
 Ag Resource Specialist Jason Tyrell taught a class on basic orienteering and then the kids took what they learned and used their compasses to build and use a scavenger hunt course.
 After a lunch break, the kids spread out and made all sorts of crafts. Anna Hodges and some youth volunteers brought the crafts and helped the kids make their treasures. Then it was off to the bus to ride home, with a new backpack full of booklets, puzzles, and other interesting handouts to take home and use to remind them of what they'd learned at camp. Whew! We were all tired - especially the adults.
A big thank you to our volunteer nurse, Kerry Linton, for her help both days.

2015 Conservation Camp - Back to Our Roots - our 30th year!

Day one of our 30th annual Conservation Camp. 
30 years ago, the campers spent a day at Salt Fork learning about the park. So we went back to the lake this year, and this time the kids spent the morning canoeing, fishing, and learning archery.

 Kara Musser from Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District taught the canoeing class.  That is her in the blue hat, adjusting a life vest for one of the students.  SAFETY FIRST!

 After lunch, the ODNR Fish unit staff did a fish shocking demo and talked to the kids about their work and research. Then Brooke Johnson  and Erica Showalter from Deerassic Park came and played some educational games.

Many thanks to the Hodges, Katie and Karen, and to their friend Diego, for all their help.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GSWCD Hosts Soils Pit Program

GSWCD Hosts Soils Pit Program
                Ever wonder what lies beneath your feet? Soils are very complex. There are various types of soils everywhere you go, with benefits and drawbacks to all types. Whether you are planting a garden, reseeding a hay field, constructing a pond or building a structure, knowing your soil types and the characteristics of those soils are essential. The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is putting on a Soils Pit Program on Thursday August 6th at 6:00pm. The location of the event will be at the Hodges Farm at 67410 Oldham Rd. Cambridge OH, 43725. The program will cover everything from soil health and soil structure, to soil testing benefits and teaching the proper technique when soil testing. This is a hands on program, where you will be able to see and feel the different soil layers; humus, topsoil, and subsoil.   Presenters will include State Soil Scientist – Steve Prebonic, OSU Extension Educator – Clif Little, and GSWCD Ag Resource Specialist – Jason Tyrell. To register for this free event, please call Jason Tyrell at 740-489-5276 by August 5th.

Ohio Prairie Conference in Dayton 8-1-15

For full details, go to www.OhioPrairie.org

Monday, July 20, 2015

Noble Conservation Camp, Day 2

Here is Jason Tyrell, our Ag Resource Specialist, on the right  He is assisting
Kara Musser of MWCD with a beginning canoeing class for all the students
at Noble SWCD's conservation day camp last week.   The kids spent the afternoon
swimming and canoeing at Wolf Creek Lake State Park just outside Belle Valley.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why care about aquatic macroinvertebrates?

Drawing of aquatic macroinvertebrates by Jennifer Gillies, www.cacaponinstitute.org

By Cynthia Tait, Forest Service Regional Aquatics Ecologist, Intermountain Region

What is an aquatic macroinvertebrate? Let's break down the term. "Aquatic" means water, "macro" means big (or big enough for us to see without using a microscope) and "invertebrate" means without a backbone. Many macroinvertebrates make their homes amid rocks, leaves, and sediment in stream beds. Some common examples of these animals are: crayfish, clams, snails, aquatic worms, and a variety of aquatic insect larvae, such as stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies, dragonflies, and damselflies. In addition to being an integral component of aquatic ecosystems, macroinvertebrates are also used to draw conclusions about the overall health of our streams.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates are a vital part of aquatic and terrestrial food chains. They graze on algae (and each other!) and break down leaves and sticks that fall into the water. They are, in turn, fed on by fish and salamanders. Aquatic insects that emerge from the water in swarms, such as mayflies, midges, and dragonflies, are important food sources for riparian song birds and bats.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates are also good indicators of water quality. In fact, the EPA and most states in the U.S. monitor water quality by measuring the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrate communities. Different types of macroinvertebrates tolerate different stream conditions and levels of pollution. Depending on which macroinvertebrates are found in a stream, predictions about water quality can be made. For example, caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies prefer cold, clear, well-oxygenated water (like trout do) and cannot live in polluted water with excess nutrients and sediment. If these insects are present in a stream, the water quality there is probably good. Other macroinvertebrates, such as dragonflies, blackflies, midges, and flatworms, are more tolerant of warm, muddy, and nutrient-rich conditions, and their presence at a site might suggest lower water quality.
Macroinvertebrates are collected using a net positioned on the stream bed as rocks and sediment are overturned upstream. After each catch, the organisms are identified, sorted by species and recorded on a data sheet. At the end of the stream monitoring session, some simple calculations based on which macroinvertebrates are present creates an ecological rating which estimates water quality of the site. Currently, only a fraction of waterbodies in the U.S. are monitored by state and federal agencies, and we know very little about the condition of many streams and rivers, even in our own backyards. It is up to volunteers to do additional monitoring to protect the health of our streams.
Stream monitoring is a fun, easy way to determine if your local stream has been impacted by pollution sources. There are many state programs throughout the country that involve and train volunteers for macroinvertebrate stream monitoring. Check out some typical websites, below:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Noble SWCD conservation camp

Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist, Levi Arnold, is helping with the Noble SWCD Conservation Camp today. He and the kids are making hummingbird feeders. Tomorrow, Ag Resource Specialist Jason Tyrell will be teaching their campers canoeing on Wolf Run Lake