Thursday, November 29, 2012

1st day deer/gun season a success

The first day of Ohio’s deer-gun season resulted in many happy hunters — and a lot of venison.

Hunters taking to the field on a pleasant day took down 29,297 white-tailed deer on Monday, a 24 percent increase from the number killed during a soaking rain last year, state wildlife officials announced yesterday.

The deer-gun season continues through Sunday, with an additional weekend hunt Dec. 15 and 16.

An estimated 420,000 hunters will seek to bag deer this year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.

Hunters brought down 90,282 deer in the weeklong gun season last year, a drop of about 15,000 from 2010.No accidental shootings or other serious hunting-related injuries had been reported as of midday yesterday.

From the Columbus Dispatch

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


As we celebrate Thanksgiving, the district would like to remind us all of our personal responsibility to be good stewards of the soil that produces the food we eat.  Assuring food for the future is one of the most basic issues any society faces, and is quite complex. In today's world, and for tomorrow's needs, an ample supply of food requires:
  • Productive soils and ample water supplies, maintained in a clean and healthy condition by people who practice effective stewardship;
  • A wide and diverse variety of food crops, with traditional crop strains protected so that their characteristics can be used in the future if needed;
  • An economic and social system that provides peace and security for people who produce food and fiber on the lands where they live;
  • A transportation and distribution network that moves food rapidly and safely from the fields where it is produced to the consumers who need it; and,
  • A global network of support that allows people to quickly and effectively helps those in hunger or famine. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Don't miss Ken Burns two-part documentary, The Dust Bowl, Sunday and Monday on PBS.  Read about it in this story at USA Today:

The Dust Bowl years prompted the formation of the SWCDs across the US - Guernsey SWCD formed on October 22, 1942 - 70 years ago. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

National Wildlife Federation Publishes Report on Cover Crops

The National Wildlife Federation released a new report, titled "Roadmap to Increased Cover Crop Adoption.” NACD, along with two-dozen other organizations, assisted the National Wildlife Federation in the development of this document. The report is meant to be a guideline for organizations and individuals interested in increasing cover crop adoption. Since cover crops are such an important conservation measure in managing soil health and nutrients, it can serve as a great starting point and a motivator to overcoming the barriers and supporting the champions of cover crop adoption.

For more information, or to download the report,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tips for fall soil fertility testing

Soil fertility is one of the foundations for high yield potential and is necessary for maintaining plant health and integrity. Particularly after a challenging year like 2012, post-harvest is a good time for soil testing and fertilizing for the immobile nutrients phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Appropriate pH levels, as well as adequate P and K are keys to help maximize yield potential for 2013 and beyond.

Read entire article here:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Ohio Department of Agriculture advised beekeepers Wednesday to be wary of environmental conditions that could affect food sources for some bee colonies over the winter. According to the department, drought-like conditions experienced in Ohio this past year, as well as a lack of nectar and water, could leave some bee colonies with fewer resources during the winter. Because of this, ODA is encouraging bee keepers to ensure that their insects are properly fed in the coming months.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Environmental Protection Agency -- Air quality data collected near a shale gas drilling well in Muskingum County suggests that air remains clean, OEPA officials announced Friday.   The agency, which began monitoring air quality at the site in April, said the results show no violation of the federal particulate matter pollution standards. Concentrations of the pollution, however, exceeded the federal threshold in June, but were likely caused by nearby road construction, OEPA officials said.  The agency will continue to collect data from the well sites for a least two years and plans to add more monitoring equipment.
Ohio residents can submit comments on new EPA rule proposals that would allow external organizations to administer water operator certification tests, through mid-November.  The public will also have the opportunity to partake in a hearing and present testimony on the rule proposals Nov. 13 in Columbus.  The proposed rules will allow organization to apply to become approved examiners, where if accepted they would give computerized water and wastewater certification exams throughout the state at a more frequent rate that the EPA. The proposed rules also set requirements for the certification process.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oriental bittersweet is bittersweet!

from the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership

Fall has officially arrived! The forest is once again adorned in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, and so are many of the local homes and businesses. In fact, many of the decorations used in these homes and businesses are made from plants that were collected from our forests, such as Oriental bittersweet.
Oriental bittersweet was introduced to the United States, from Eastern Asia, in the mid-1800s as an ornamental plant. Its woody stems and persistent scarlet berries are an appealing addition to decorative, seasonal wreaths and ornamental floral arrangements. Despite its beauty, Oriental bittersweet can be quite beastly.

It is an aggressively growing vine that girdles and overtops surrounding vegetation. The weight of many vines can cause trees to fall, which can damage power lines, homes, and other trees.  It can also prevent forest regeneration after timber harvest and can become a pest in agricultural production. The growth pattern of this plant drastically alters the landscape by out-competing other vegetation, thus limiting available food and habitat for wildlife.  If Oriental bittersweet is left untreated it will hurt the economy of our region by impacting the timber industry, agricultural production, and recreational opportunities. 
Oriental bittersweet is found in old home sites, fields, forest edges, hedgerows, open woodlands, along road edges and other disturbed sites. Birds are the principal long distance carriers of seeds. However, seeds are also widely spread by people through decorative use of these plants in floral arrangements and landscape plantings.

It is worth noting that there is a native American bittersweet that is similar in appearance to Oriental bittersweet but doesn’t grow aggressively and is beneficial for wildlife. Distinguishing our native American bittersweet from the invasive Oriental bittersweet can be difficult. Both species produce small globe-shaped fruits that eventually split to reveal scarlet berries. However, the ripened fruit-casing of American bittersweet is orange, whereas the fruit-casing of Oriental bittersweet is yellow. Also, American bittersweet has clusters of flowers and fruits at the ends of branches, whereas Oriental bittersweet has flowers and fruits where the leaves attach to the stem.

American bittersweet and Oriental bittersweet are known to hybridize in the wild and plants labeled as “American bittersweet” in commercial greenhouses are often mislabeled Oriental bittersweet. If you wish to add vines to your landscaping, rather than risk planting Oriental bittersweet, consider using native alternatives such as Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans), and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).
Visit the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership blog, at, for more information on Oriental bittersweet and other invasive species. 
Photo credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Striking out hunger with lean beef!

More than one ton of lean ground beef was donated to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank Oct. 25, 2012 by Ohio’s beef farmers and Kroger. Throughout the summer, Columbus Clippers, Kroger, the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn Marketing Program and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank partnered with Ohio beef farmers in Striking Out Hunger with Lean Beef. A donation of more than 2,000 pounds of lean ground beef is the result of that partnership.
Read rest of article here:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Water Sampling Basics Program postponed!

We've been getting lots of calls concerning water testing due to the shale drilling boom in the area, so we've planned an educational program to help answer questions on why and how to take samples and have your water supplies tested. The program has been cancelled for Thursday, and will be rescheduled at a later date. Please call the district to let us know you are interested so we can notify you of the new date.