Department of Natural Resources: Former Division of Wildlife official Ray Petering is coming out of retirement to serve as chief of the division, the agency announced Friday. He will assume his new post Monday. "Ray's background and experience in the field of fish and wildlife resources, as well as his success in establishing and maintaining partnerships to strengthen wildlife conservation, made Ray the ideal candidate for this job," ODNR Director James Zehringer said in a statement. "Under Ray's leadership I anticipate the Division of Wildlife will make great advancements in furthering ODNR's efforts to improve Ohio's fish and wildlife management." Sue Howard, assistant chief of the division, has been serving as the acting chief since the resignation of Scott Zody last month, ODNR reported. She will resume her role as assistant chief with responsibilities for fish and wildlife management as well as the business, federal aid and information and education sections of the division. Mr. Petering has more than 30 years of professional fish and wildlife experience in Ohio having retired from the ODNR Division of Wildlife in 2011 as the acting assistant chief and executive administrator in the fish management and research section. More recently he served as a project manager for the division and authored the State Wildlife Action Plan, according to the agency. Mr. Petering holds degrees from Ohio State University and the University of Georgia.
In a separate announcement, the agency said it will provide a public update on the beginning of the construction phase and site preparation work for the Buckeye Lake dam project on Monday, Nov. 16. The event is set for 2 p.m. at Buckeye Lake State Park, 2905 Liebs Island Rd. in Millersport. It will include staff from ODNR, Gannett Fleming and the newly selected construction management firm, ASI. The agency said state and local elected officials and community members will also be on hand to participate.
ODNR also said this week it is taking applications for the Ohio Geology License Plate Fund grant program that helps support graduate students conducting geologic research in the state. The program, funded through renewals of the Ohio Rocks! license plates, will provide two $1,200 grants to earth science students at Ohio colleges and universities for graduate-level research on Ohio's geology. The awards will be selected on the quality of the student applications, their professors' letters of reference and the relevancy of the research. The deadline for application submission is Jan. 15, 2016. The application and complete submission guidelines can be found on the agency's website.