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

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

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

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Latest Deer Harvest Numbers available

Ohio hunters checked 12,505 white-tailed deer during muzzleloader season from Jan. 9-12, according to the department, down from 13,724 last year.  Archery season remains open through Feb. 7.  An updated deer harvest report  is attached.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Talk of the Town

Jason Tyrell talks about the 2015 Cover Crops Program and the upcoming Program Planning Meeting. Check out the link below:

American Chestnuts planted in Ohio state forests

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources: The department planted American chestnut trees in Mohican State Park, the Scioto Trail State Forest and the Waterloo Wildlife Area as part of a state and regional effort in partnership with The American Chestnut Foundation, according to a news release. About 1,000 one-year-old seedlings donated by TACF were divided among the sites and given tree shelter tubes to protect their early growth.

"We are happy to be a part of helping to return the American chestnut to landscapes across Ohio and the region," said Robert Boyles, ODNR's deputy director and state forester. "The American chestnut was such an important component of our country's eastern hardwood forest, and that is why great efforts are being made to resurrect this great tree to our woodlands."

The native American chestnut populations were devastated by a blight in the early 1900s, but these seedlings are "Restoration" chestnuts bred at the TACF's Meadowview Research Farms in Virginia. They are 94% American chestnut and 6% Chinese chestnut, which is resistant to the blight.

Monday, January 4, 2016

More than 9,400 Deer Checked during Ohio's Two-Day Gun Hunting Season

COLUMBUS, OH - Hunters checked 9,447 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2015 two-day deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 28-29, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The last time Ohio held a two-day December deer-gun season was in 2012 with 14,365 deer harvested. That year, the season was held on a weekend and accounted for just more than 6 percent of the entire deer harvest. This year’s two-day season total is projected to account for slightly more than 5 percent of all deer harvested. 
Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Muzzleloader season is Jan. 9-12, 2016, and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.
Deer Management Goals
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.
Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above goal. In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal. Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is in the process of revising Ohio’s population goals and is asking hunters that receive the survey to help by completing and returning their survey as soon as possible. Hunters for this year’s survey were randomly selected from the list of hunters who purchased a license and deer permit by Nov. 16. Landowner surveys have already been completed, and hunter surveys were mailed in early December. Public input is an important part of Ohio’s deer management program, and survey participants are asked to complete and return their surveys to ensure that hunters have a clear voice in helping to decide the direction of deer management in Ohio.
Hunting Popularity
Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at An updated deer harvest report is posted online each Wednesday
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website
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Editor’s Note: A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters using firearms during the 2015 two-day deer-gun hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2015, and the 2012 numbers are in parentheses.
Adams: 209 (267); Allen: 21 (78); Ashland: 142 (234); Ashtabula: 305 (372); Athens: 212 (279); Auglaize: 38 (90); Belmont: 216 (387); Brown: 162 (220); Butler: 51 (101); Carroll: 211 (375); Champaign: 41 (77); Clark: 21(63); Clermont: 95 (182); Clinton: 37 (63); Columbiana: 196 (320); Coshocton: 349 (489); Crawford: 59 (102); Cuyahoga: 1 (6); Darke: 19 (66); Defiance: 74 (142); Delaware: 60 (102); Erie: 21 (41); Fairfield: 85 (169); Fayette: 10 (16); Franklin: 24 (26); Fulton: 16 (58); Gallia: 165 (230); Geauga: 77 (106); Greene: 21 (60); Guernsey: 263 (382); Hamilton: 21 (47); Hancock: 34 (77); Hardin: 53 (89); Harrison: 228 (390); Henry: 25 (64); Highland: 147 (239); Hocking: 203 (213); Holmes: 209 (286); Huron: 107 (195); Jackson: 194 (235); Jefferson: 169 (312); Knox: 236 (356); Lake: 21 (27); Lawrence: 147 (176); Licking: 236 (444); Logan: 86 (143); Lorain: 98 (181); Lucas: 10 (20); Madison: 26 (45); Mahoning: 107 (102); Marion: 55 (75); Medina: 83 (135); Meigs: 229 (259); Mercer: 18 (61); Miami: 37 (49); Monroe: 156 (203); Montgomery: 14 (23); Morgan: 181 (226); Morrow: 71 (133); Muskingum: 284 (474); Noble: 202 (235); Ottawa: 7 (9); Paulding: 34 (99); Perry: 181 (238); Pickaway: 38 (78); Pike: 140 (154); Portage: 88 (90); Preble: 29 (86); Putnam: 19 (47); Richland: 150 (194); Ross: 185 (214); Sandusky: 29 (54); Scioto: 164 (174); Seneca: 84 (139); Shelby: 34 (99); Stark: 124 (171); Summit: 26 (31); Trumbull: 166 (248); Tuscarawas: 296 (483); Union: 32 (81); Van Wert: 15 (64); Vinton: 201 (221); Warren: 44 (83); Washington: 210 (266); Wayne: 109 (115); Williams: 51 (123); Wood: 31 (70); Wyandot: 72 (117). Total: 9,447 (14,365).
For more information, contact:
John Windau, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Stephanie Leis, ODNR Office of Communications

Deer muzzleloader season this weekend

 Hunters checked 9,447 white-tailed deer during Ohio's 2015 two-day deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 28-29, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The last time Ohio held a two-day December deer-gun season was in 2012 with 14,365 deer harvested. That year, the season was held on a weekend and accounted for just more than 6 percent of the entire deer harvest. This year's two-day season total is projected to account for slightly more than 5 percent of all deer harvested.  

Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Muzzleloader season is Jan. 9-12, 2016, and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.