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, April 21, 2015

White Pine seedlings available

We have about 400 white pine seedlings from our tree sale still available, first come, first served.  They are in bundles of 25 for $13.   Call the office at 740-435-0408 if you have need of them.

We are sold out of trees and berries.  We do still have a shitake mushroom kit, some of the fertilizer tabs, and both types of cover crops for gardeners (these make lovely gifts).  We also have some 100% cedar Bluebird and wren nestboxes, and birdfeeders of all types.

Harrison County Man Named Ohio's 2015 Outstanding Tree Farmer

CADIZ, OH – Alan Walter, owner of the Sycamore Hill Tree Farm in Harrison County, has been named the 2015 Ohio Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Productive, sustainable tree farms are an important part of to Ohio’s economic and environmental health because they help improve air quality, provide habitat for wildlife and offer aesthetic appeal that attracts tourism dollars,” said Robert Boyles, ODNR deputy director and state forester. “We are pleased to recognize Alan Walter for being an outstanding example of woodland stewardship, and we hope that his efforts inspire other landowners in the long-term care of their properties.”

Walter has actively managed his 150-acre woodland since 1990. Forestry practices that improve the health and productivity of the woodlands include grapevine and multiflora rose control, thinning to release crop trees and selective timber harvesting. Walter has special interest in managing his woods while improving habitat for non-game wildlife species dependent upon early successional habitat, especially songbirds. He is active in the East Central Ohio Forestry Association, a regional group of woodland owners.

The Sycamore Hill Tree Farm has been certified since 1994 by the American Tree Farm System as meeting their standards for woodland stewardship. This designation shows that as a certified forest, significant effort has been made to provide a renewable resource in a sustainable manner while maintaining a healthy forest that protects water, wildlife and recreational values.

A public field day is planned for Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Sycamore Hill Tree Farm to highlight conservation practices with demonstrations, as well as forestry and wildlife experts.

The Ohio Tree Farm Program was organized in 1946, bringing foresters and landowners together to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state committed to caring for their land under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System may visit ohiotreefarm.org.

Ohio EPA offers grant writing workshops

Environmental Protection Agency: the Ohio Environmental Education Fund will host grant-writing workshops to help groups find funding for environmental projects and programs, the OEPA announced.  The free workshops, set to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 29 at Miami University's King Library, will be held in two sessions.  Grant Writing 101 will help participants identify foundations, corporations and government grant programs and approach different kinds of grant-makers while Grant Writing 102 will focus on the common mistakes applicants make and how to develop realistic objectives, activities and budgets, according to an OEPA release.  Registration is required and can be completed by sending an email to Dennis Clement at dennis.clement@epa.ohio.gov.

Farmers for Water website launched

The Water Quality Status Report provides a list of action items being taken by farmers, Farm Bureau and many collaborative partners to implement new farming techniques and best practices to protect water while farming productively. It emphasizes actions in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB), but water quality is a statewide issue and Farm Bureau is addressing it throughout the state. Farm Bureau also has established statewide partnerships to identify comprehensive solutions to complex water issues.  The report is available online at www.farmersforwater.org. Farm Bureau is publicizing its availability through print, broadcast and social media promotion.

Conservation Easement Meeting

If you are interested in preserving your farmland or woodland for future generations to enjoy, there is a meeting on Wednesday evening that you should attend. Landowners in Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties can learn about the conservation protection options available to them at an April 22 meeting in Buffalo, OH.
The meeting, which is sponsored by the area Farm Bureau office in cooperation with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts and OSU Extension, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Mid-East Career Center, Buffalo Campus, 57090 Vocational Rd., Senecaville.  The meeting will be an opportunity for property owners to learn about the land-protection options available via conservation and/or agricultural easements.
The meeting is free and open to the public. The area Farm Bureau is providing this meeting as an introduction to land conservation and land trust programming.For more information on the meeting, contact Farm Bureau Organization Director Betsy Anderson at (740) 425-3681, banderson@ofbf.org or write to her at 100 Colonel Dr., Barnesville, Ohio 43713.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Terminating cover crops

Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to start thinking about terminating the cover crops that were planted last fall, mainly the annual ryegrass and cereal rye.
“To get the best kill on cereal rye and ryegrass, it must be actively growing,” said Beck’s Hybrids Agronomist Alex Johnson. “If your neighbors are mowing grass, that’s a good sign that the cover crops are ready to be sprayed.”
Read rest of this Ohio Country Journal article HERE  There is an audio interview of Alex Johnson as well.

Info on Eagles from ODNR-Div of Wildlife

As we go into prime eagle nesting season here in Ohio it might be timely to show a photo that would be helpful in aging sub-adult bald eagles. As they go through the 5-6 year process of becoming breeding adults many of these younger birds can be mistakenly identified as golden eagles or not recognized as eagles at all. The photo depicts different plumage for the sub-adults and the eagle in flight is likely a 1st year bird.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

State Files Suit Against Army Corps' Cleveland Harbor Dredging Plan

The state of Ohio sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday over the agency's plan to dredge the Cleveland Harbor and dump the waste in the open waters of Lake Erie.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.  The state officials allege the Corps' dredging proposal violates the federal Clean Water Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the agency's statutory requirement to maintain the navigability of Great Lakes harbors.

 In addition, the lawsuit claims the Corps failed to prepare an environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and is unlawfully delegating its authority to maintain navigable waters to a non-federal partner.  In the lawsuit, the state asks the court to order the Corps to dredge the full Cleveland Harbor federal channel without disposing of any waste into the open waters of Lake Erie and to prohibit the agency from requiring a non-federal sponsor to pay for disposal into a confined disposal facility.  The legal action comes less than a week after Gov. John Kasich signed legislation (SB 1) that seeks to ban the future dumping of dredged material in Ohio's portion of Lake Erie as part of a broader bill aiming to quell toxic algal blooms.

Since the early 1970s, the Army Corps has dredged the Cuyahoga River navigational channel and dumped the material in one of the on-land disposal areas designated for toxic dredge materials, Mr. DeWine's office said. Starting last year, however, the agency proposed dumping the material into the open waters of Lake Erie.  The Corps is refusing to dredge the last mile of a six-mile stretch of the Cleveland Harbor channel unless a non-federal partner agrees to pay the more than $1 million cost of confined disposal, the state said, asserting that Congress has already appropriated funds to fully cover those costs.  "The Corps' decision attempts to force the state to use its resources to pay for costs the federal government should cover, to accept the severe economic distress to Cleveland and all of Ohio if the Corps refuses to dredge this area, or allow the Corps to endanger Lake Erie further by dumping these toxins," Attorney General DeWine said. "We filed this lawsuit because this decision by the Corps is wrong for the health of Lake Erie, wrong for the economy of Cleveland, and wrong for the taxpayers of Ohio."

The state says dredge material from the final sixth mile of the shipping channel is heavily contaminated with carcinogenic toxins called PCBs. The chemical remains in fatty tissues and accumulates in fish and people as it moves up the food chain.  Increased toxic PCB levels in Lake Erie fish have already led to consumption advisories and any additional accumulation could lead to a significant crisis for Lake Erie anglers, according to the state.  "Based on the data our scientists have reviewed, we expect the Army Corps to dredge the entire navigation channel to keep the first six miles of the Cuyahoga River open for shipping traffic as required by Congress," OEPA Director Butler said.  "Further, as long as sediments pose a risk to Lake Erie, we will fight to protect the lake and Ohioans that rely on the lake by demanding that all sediment be disposed of in the Cleveland confined disposal facilities at full federal expense as supported by the Army Corps Federal Standard," he said.  OEPA issued a water quality certification on Mar. 31 allowing the Corps to dredge up to 225,000 cubic yards of material from six miles of the Cuyahoga River and deposit it in the designated confined disposal facilities. The permit complies with Gov. Kasich's executive order prohibiting the open lake disposal of dredge material in Lake Erie if it could result in higher toxins in fish or violate any international treaties or compacts.

Director Zehringer said a healthy Lake Erie is vital to Ohio's travel and tourism industry because it supports a world-class fishery and provides economic opportunities for many small businesses.  "We're obligated to take the necessary steps to protect our state's greatest natural resource and enhance recreational opportunities. Keeping the sediment out of our lake helps maintain this economically critical waterway and the health of Lake Erie's fish population for our charter boat captains and all of Ohio's anglers," he said.

The Corps did not respond to a request for comment prior to deadline.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ag is Cool Creative Expression competition by ODA

The Ohio Department of Agriculture  announced it will begin accepting entries for the 2015 "Agriculture is Cool!" Creative Expressions contest. Ohio children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2014-2015 academic year have until June 5, 2015, to capture their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is cool for their chance to win prizes including tickets to the Ohio State Fair. For additional information about the contest, a complete copy of the rules and entry forms visit http://www.agri.ohio.gov/AgIsCool/