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.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Other energy news

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday secured natural gas supplies for Dominion East Ohio's SSO/SCO customers.  PUCO accepted results of Dominions standard service offer and standard choice offer auction for the period of April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017, resulting in a 5 cent discount per thousand cubic feet compared to the New York Mercantile Exchange's month-end settlement price, according to a PUCO release.  Seven natural gas suppliers submitted bids. The name of the four winning bidders will remain confidential for 15 days "to protect the suppliers' positions in contract negotiations with pipeline companies."

The wind energy posted its second strongest quarter ever late last year, according to data released by the American Wind Energy Association.  In all, the industry installed 5,001 megawatts during Q4, which the AWEA said is more than in the entirety of 2014. Throughout 2015, the industry installed a total of 8,598 MW - the third largest amount ever and a 77% increase over 2014 levels.  "The data released today show 2016 presents an extraordinary opportunity for American wind power," AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a statement. "The time has never been better for states and utilities to lock in low-cost, stably-priced wind energy to achieve their Clean Power Plan carbon reductions. Wind energy is on track to supplying 20% of the country's electricity by 2030."

Utica Shale Drilling permits

ODNR: Eleven more shale drilling permits have been issued since January 23, according to the latest figures released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  That brings the total number of permits issued since December 2009 to 2,129, ODNR reported.

 In all, 1,673 Utica wells have been drilled since December 2009 - including two more since the ODNR's last report in January. The agency reports that 1,147 of those wells are in production.  The agency singled out Carroll County as being first in terms of the number of permits issued at 500 permits. Harrison County, ODNR said, places second with 381 permits, followed by Belmont County with 317.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Its Frost Seeding Time!

Well it’s here everyone!!! It’s time to decide when you are going to Frost Seed. The window is not very large, being February 1st through March 15th. But watch closely, as you do not want weather to fool you and miss your opportunity.
So I’m guessing a lot of you are asking the question: What exactly is this frost seeding? Frost Seeding is a cost efficient and cost effective way to introduce new forage or improve your current stand. Frost seeding is the act of broadcasting seed over pastures or meadows during the time where there is a freeze-thaw action. This action opens and closes the ground and allows the seed to penetrate the soil so that it may germinate.
There are several steps to help assure that you get positive results. These steps include Site Selection, Soil Fertility, Seed Selection, Seeding Rates, Seeding Time, Seeding Method, Seed Treatments and Post-Seeding Management.
Site Selection: Any location where you can maximize seed-to-soil contact is a good site to frost seed. Having good seed-to-soil contact is essential for positive results to be achieved. The best option for fields to frost seed are fields with bunch-type grasses such as orchard grass rather than a sod-forming species such as bluegrass. Soil type matters as well. Soils such as loam and clay, that have natural moisture, work the best as opposed to sandy soils, which should be avoided. When you do choose your field, make sure that you either clip pastures or closely graze in the late fall or winter to open up the stand and expose the soil.
Soil Fertility: Make sure you get your Soil Tests!! Growing, establishing and maintaining productive forage is greatly dependent upon fertility. Try to have soil tests done at least every 4 years to keep track of your soil quality and at least 6 months prior to frost seeding. This allows time to make any adjustments that may be needed. Corrective applications of phosphorus and potassium should be applied prior to seeding. Any lime needed should be applied a year in advance. If you are frost seeding a legume, nitrogen applications should NOT be made the year of seeding due to the potential for increased competition from grasses and weeds.
Seed Selection: If you choose to seed a legume, the best options would be Alfalfa, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Clover (there are several species of clover that make very different impacts). Alfalfa should be seeded on well drained soils. Birdsfoot Trefoil takes 2-3 years to establish a solid stand. Red Clover establishes quickly but only produces for around 2 years. White Clover will establish quickly and last 3 or more years. Alsike Clover takes 2-3 years to establish a solid stand.
If you choose to frost seed grasses, the best options are Perennial Ryegrass and Orchardgrass, when moisture is adequate for growth. Grasses such as Timothy, Reed Canarygrass, Tall Fescue, Smooth Bromegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass are NOT recommended when frost seeding due to light weight and cold weather tolerability when attempting germination.
If you decide that you would like a seed mixture, you must decide what type of mixture. With a legume mixture, such mixes as red clover and birdsfoot trefoil or alsike clover, the red clover establishes early and then when it is ready to die off, the birdsfoot or the alsike clover will then establish creating a long term legume presence. Grass mixtures are not recommended, as they are more difficult to establish than legumes are. If you decide to do a legume and grass seed mixture, it is recommended to separate the two seed types and spread them in two passes. Legume seed, which is heavier than grass seeds, tend to “throw” farther when broadcasting.
Seeding Rates: Make sure you know your seeding rates, so you may broadcast the proper amount to avoid under or over seeding your fields. Seeding rates can be found by either calling your local Extension office (OSU extension), or looking at their website online at ohioline.osu.edu for Ohio seeding rates. Remember that depending on your location and seed type, seeding rates may vary.
Seeding Time: Frost seeding must take place at the correct time proper results. In Ohio, frost seeding should occur from February 1st through March 15th. The exact seeding date you choose should depend on the weather that year and the location in Ohio. Southern Ohio areas will need to seed earlier than Northern Ohio areas.
Seeding Method: There are several options when deciding to broadcast your seed. Depending on how large of an area that will be seeded, you can choose to use a hand broadcasting seeder, an ATV broadcasting seeder or a tractor broadcasting seeder. If you are frost seeding on to snow, be cautious as rapid meltdown of snow may result in seed runoff. After broadcasting the seed, the “Trampling Effect” of high livestock densities can be an effective way to ensure Seed-to-Soil Contact.
Seed Treatments: Seed treatments containing nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria are widely available for most common legumes. Rhizobia do survive in the soil, so if the legume planned to be seeded is already present, rhizobia is not required. If the legume is not present, rhizobia seed coating is recommended.
Post-Seeding Management:  Make sure you follow the fertility program based on the soil test recommendations to ensure that adequate levels of pH, phosphorus and potassium are present along with other corrective applications that took place. Make sure if you have a legume stand greater than 35%, that you do NOT apply nitrogen. After the applied seed germinates, make sure your mow or graze the pastures as needed to remove excessive grass growth and control weeds and woody vegetation. Proper grazing management in the first year is critical. Maintaining your grazing plan will ensure proper production of your forage. Avoid overgrazing by leaving a minimum of 2-3 inches of top growth at all times.
Frost seeding is a great conservation practice that can be a quality low cost method to improve an existing forage stand or introduce a new forage species. Remember to follow all the steps necessary to ensure that quality production is possible and maintained. If you have any questions concerning Frost Seeding you may contact Jason Tyrell at 740-489-5276

Friday, January 29, 2016

Why Wills Creek is so important to Guernsey County

A map of Wills Creek watershed. WIlls is in pink, within the larger blue area which is the Muskingum watershed. Wills Creek is unique in that it flows northward into the Muskingum, which flows southward into the Ohio River at Marietta. As you can see, nearly all of Guernsey county falls within the Wills Creek watershed, and the lions share of the watershed is within Guernsey county. This makes Guernsey county residents doubly invested in the quality of water in WIlls Creek.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"New" Moore Woods Historical Marker

Recently Sewah Studios in Marietta did work to restore the historical marker sign at the entrance to Moore Memorial Woods. Take a moment to read the information on the sign. The 78 acres of woodland were donated to the district in 1955 to be used as a land lab. Since then the property has been managed to show proper timber management and to educate school children and adults on the value and sustainable use of our natural resources.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

EPA evaluates pesticide for pollinator risk

EPA has prepared a draft pollinator-only ecological risk assessment for all registered agricultural uses, focusing on agricultural crops attractive to pollinators, and put the notice out for public comment. Comments are due by March 15.

Read rest of article   HERE

ECOFA meeting next week

DOVER, OHIO -  At the Feb. 3, 7:00 meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA), Lynn Abrams-Spilker. Experienced Accountant, Business Owner, Small Business Developer, and Instructor from CambridgeOhio, owns South East Ohio Financial Services.  She will be helping us with the current tax law and changes along with the opportunity to ask questions about our current tax year situation. 
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. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Water Quality Regulations and Certifications Information.

What you need to know about water quality regulations

Who needs to be certified?
By the law and regulations created with the passage of Senate Bill 150 in 2014 anyone in Ohio who applies fertilizer to 50 acres or more must be certified. This law applies to fertilizer (material having an analysis). If it’s manure, lime or other farm residue, you do not need to be certified by this law.
If all of your crop goes through an animal before it leaves the farm, you don’t need to be certified, but I think it’s a good idea if you do go to the class and get certified anyway
How do you get certified?
Read more at the link below:

Lawmakers Seek Answers As OEPA Launches Review Of Sebring's Lead-Laced Water

A pair of Democratic lawmakers is pressing for more details on how the village of Sebring was able to avoid alerting some customers of unacceptably high lead levels in their water for months.  In September, an EPA specialist first raised concerns with Sebring Water Superintendent Jim Bates. Further investigation found lead levels in water samples that were higher than permissible.  That discovery kicked off months of back-and-forth during which the state agency leaders say they attempted to determine whether the village had properly notified consumers of the danger.
"It has become apparent that our field office was too patient in dealing with the village of Sebring's 'cat and mouse' game and should have had closer scrutiny on the water system meeting its deadlines," Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said in a statement. "We are in the process of developing new protocols and appropriate personnel actions to ensure that our field staff takes action when it appears that a water system is not complying and taking their review seriously."

It turned out the village hadn't notified citizens, despite documents submitted to the state stating the contrary. Instead, notification was first distributed Thursday and only after the EPA issued a notice of violation and ordered immediate notification - sparking alarm and prompting schools to close.  Mr. Butler briefed lawmakers on the situation in a Thursday evening conference call. On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and Rep. John Boccieri (D-Alliance) wrote a letter to Mr. Butler requesting more information and expressing an interest in helping distribute information to the public about the situation and to prevent a reoccurrence.

The EPA is now working to revoke Mr. Bates' water treatment operator license on the grounds that "he is not properly performing his duties in a manner that is protective of public health," according to a statement the EPA released Sunday.  "The agency also has reason to suspect that the operator falsified reports, so it has opened an investigation and is requesting assistance from U.S. EPA's Criminal Investigation Division," the statement continued.  The situation came to light as a high-profile water emergency unfolds in Flint, Mich. It was determined there that when officials switched the city's water supply in a cost-saving move in April 2014, they enabled corrosive water to enter the city's supply, eat away at lead piping and bring lead-contaminated water into homes.

The city and state downplayed the concerns of residents, telling them the water was safe even after tests confirmed unacceptable lead levels. It wasn't until Jan. 12 that Gov. Rick Snyder issued an emergency and mobilized the National Guard to distribute bottled water to residents. Days later, President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency for the city.

Over the weekend, the Sebring situation caught national media attention, with CBS News suggesting in a headline that the village "may be the next Flint."

The EPA said Sunday that new water sampling results show progress - with 25 of 28 sampled homes showing adequate lead levels. Fifteen other samples were taken at three local schools with all but one sample showing a higher than allowable level of lead.  The EPA is requiring the village to continue water tests, provide bottled water or filtration systems to homes, and work with the county to provide health screening to residents. The agency is providing up to $25,000 in financial assistance to provide filtration systems.

"While the water system has a clean water source and supply, it is still unacceptable that a few individual homes are experiencing corrosion that is causing high levels of lead," Mr. Butler said. He used the situation to call for the U.S. EPA to overhaul its lead regulations, which he said "are overly complicated, not easy to understand and not protective of human health. Following the federal rules have led to internal protocols that are inconsistent with other drinking water protocols."

The situation prompted Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) to question the testing of her own district's drinking water.  On Monday, she sent a letter to Mr. Butler, requesting a "thorough explanation" of the water testing process and the frequency with which those tests are conducted. In a separate letter, addressed to the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District Board of Directors, she questioned how often the water in Mahoning Valley is tested.  "Although there is no known issue with the MVSD, it is important that we remain vigilant to protect our families, who deserve the right to drink tap water without having to worry that it will harm or even kill them," Rep. Lepore-Hagan said in a statement. "While I am confident that our water system here is safe, I believe more frequent testing should be utilized to better ensure the ongoing quality of our drinking water."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Enviroscape Class

This Week, Jason and Levi were at Meadowbrook MS, teaching 160+ 7th graders about how the city water treatment system works and how water is drawn from Wills Creek, used by city residents, then cleaned and recycled back into Wills Creek, cleaner than it came out. We have the Enviroscape, which makes the topic interesting and fun for the students while they learn. Jason and Levi are available to any school class ( or gathering of adults) in the county who would like this educational program, and arrangements can be made through this office. 740-489-5276

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

USDA Conservation Programs for 2016 Now Available in Guernsey county & Ohio

COLUMBUS, Jan. 19, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) now has 2016 Federal conservation program funds available for Ohio farmers and forestland owners.

Farmers and forestland owners may apply for funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) at any time throughout the year, but application selections for funding are made at specific times.  The first 2016 application deadline is February 19.

EQIP provides financial assistance for conservation management and structures (practices) and technical assistance to develop a conservation plan.  The conservation plan and practices help agricultural producers and forestland owners improve the natural resources on their property.  These practices also benefit the public by improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and improving soil health, wildlife habitat, and conserving energy. 

Landowners should make an appointment with their local NRCS office as soon as possible to begin the conservation planning process.  The Guernsey/Noble USDA Service Center is located at 1300 Clark Street, Unit 10, Cambridge, Ohio.  Call Kim Ray at 740432-5621 extension 3.

Eligible producers who sign up for EQIP may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost for installing planned conservation practices. Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment rate. Veteran farmers who are also new or beginning farmers receive the higher payment rate.

Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as farmers applying as a corporation, must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), a process that can take up to 3 weeks.  Information about CCR requirements, including obtaining a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number, is posted on the NRCS website at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill.

Dedicated EQIP funds are available for conservation practices targeting On-Farm Energy, Organic Systems, High Tunnel Systems, Honeybee and other wildlife habitat, as well as several landscape-based initiatives, including:

         Livestock EQIP – Livestock farmers statewide (includes pastured livestock)
         Cropland EQIP – Crop farmers statewide EXCEPT those farming in the Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed (future 2016 EQIP funding will be available for crop farmers in this watershed)
         Forestry EQIP – Private forestland owners statewide
         Southern Ohio Appalachian EQIP – Pasture operations in Adams, Athens, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington Counties
         Cerulean Warbler Regional Conservation Partnership Program RCPP (EQIP) – Tree planting on reclaimed mined land in Adams, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington Counties.

Additional EQIP funding will be available in 2016 for other landscape-based initiatives and priority natural resource issues.  NRCS will post announcements of these future 2016 EQIP application ranking deadline dates on the Ohio NRCS website at http://www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov.

Guernsey county residents may contact their local USDA-NRCS service center at 740-432-5621 or visit 1300 Clark St, Unit 10, Cambridge, OH