Friday, July 31, 2015

ECOFA meeting August 5th

DOVER, OHIO -  At the August 5 7:00 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA), Jamey Emmert, a Wildlife Communications Specialist with the Division of Wildlife will speak on the great outdoors.  She previously was the the Ohio Fish & Wildlife Management Association, ODNR, and The Wilds conservation facility.

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.

Ohio's Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons Begin Sept. 1

Ohio's Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons Begin Sept. 1


COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Wildlife Council approved early migratory bird hunting season dates, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Sept. 1 is Ohio’s opening day for mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe hunting seasons.
Ohio’s dove 2015 hunting season dates are Sept. 1-Nov. 8, and Dec. 12-Jan. 1, 2016. The daily limit is 15 birds with a possession limit of 45 birds after the second day. Dove hunting dates were extended 20 days last year, and that extended season will continue in 2015.
Additional hunting seasons approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council include the following dates.
  • Special early season Canada goose: Sept. 1-15. Daily limit of five; possession limit of 15 after the second day.
  • Early teal: Sept. 5-20. Daily limit of six; possession limit of 18 after the second day.
  • Sora rail and Virginia rail: Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily limit of 25; possession limit of 75 after the second day.
  • Common moorhen: Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily limit of 15; possession limit of 45 after the second day.
  • Common snipe: Sept. 1-Nov. 29 and Dec. 19-Jan. 4, 2016. Daily limit of eight; possession limit of 24 after the second day.
  • American woodcock: Oct. 10-Nov. 23. Daily limit of three; possession limit of nine after the second day.
Waterfowl hunters must have a valid hunting license in addition to an Ohio wetlands habitat stamp endorsement, a federal duck stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification. Hunters must obtain a new HIP certification each year to hunt any migratory game bird season. Call 877-HIP-OHIO (447-6446) to complete the HIP certification. Licenses, permits and stamps are available online at the Wild Ohio Customer Center. Federal duck stamps are available at
New this year, hunters can carry a valid receipt for a federal duck stamp, or an e-stamp, in place of a signed stamp for 45 days after purchase. An Ohio wetlands habitat stamp endorsement and a federal duck stamp are not required to hunt doves, rails, moorhens, snipe and woodcock.
Controlled dove hunts will be offered Tuesday, Sept. 1, and Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Fallsville, Rush Run, Spring Valley, Indian Creek and Bott state wildlife areas. Controlled dove hunts will also be offered at St. Marys State Fish Hatchery on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Wednesday, Sept. 2, Saturday, Sept. 5, Saturday, Sept. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 19. Hunting hours are noon to sunset for all controlled dove hunts.
Opening day drawings for all of these hunts will take place at noon on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the respective public area headquarters. Bott Wildlife Area will hold its drawings at the Indian Creek Headquarters. Drawings for the other hunts will be held the day of the hunt at noon. Maps and details are available at Questions about these hunts should be directed to the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District Five office at 937-372-9261.
The 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations are available at and at license outlets. The 2015 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure will be available in August.
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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For more information, contact:
Brian Plasters, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Stephanie Leis, ODNR Office of Communications

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Report Finds Utica Shale Productivity Increased Rapidly

Ohio's Utica Shale region contributed significantly to the country's overall natural gas production growth over the past three years, according to a report issued Tuesday.  Combined with production in the Marcellus shale region, which includes West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania and New York, the two shale plays were responsible for 85% of the growth in U.S. shale gas production since 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's said.  "The productivity of natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale and the neighboring Utica Shale is steadily increasing because of ongoing improvements in precision and efficiency of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing occurring in those regions," the EIA analysis said.

While the Marcellus region accounted for most of the increased natural gas production, growth in the newer Utica play outpaced all the other major shale regions that the EIA tracked in recent years.  In October 2013, natural gas production in the Utica totaled 2.4 million cubic feet per day, a figure that grew to nearly 7 million MMcf/d in June of this year, according to EIA.  Total natural gas production in the Utica increased rapidly, although it has leveled off somewhat in recent months. Production in July 2015 was almost 18 times higher than in January 2013.  The rate of productivity in the Utica region went from 0.31 MMcf/d per drilling rig in January 2012 to 6.9 MMcf/d per rig by July 2015, the federal agency said.  EIA attributed the increases in natural gas production from the Utica and Marcellus to several factors, including:  Greater use of advanced drilling techniques; Increased number of stages used in hydraulic fracturing operations;  New techniques like "zipper fracturing," or simultaneous fracturing of individual stages of two parallel horizontal wells; and, Use of specific components during well completion that aid in increasing fracture size and porosity of the geologic formation being targeted.

While the drop in oil and gas prices that started last year has slowed down fracking around the country, the Utica play is the only one of the country's seven major shale regions that the EIA monitors where natural gas production is projected to increase next month.  Natural gas production in the Utica is expected to increase by 22 MMcf/d in August, according to EIA's July Drilling Productivity Report. Meanwhile, production is expected to drop 41 MMcf/d in the Marcellus and by as much as 122 MMcf/d in Texas's Eagle Ford region.  Despite the increase, the number of drilling rigs operating in the Utica has dropped from a high of more than 30 last year to about a dozen, the report says. The same trend is seen in other shale plays, like the Bakken in North Dakota, which went from nearly 200 rigs to about 75 in the last year.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance reported that the state has issued a total of 1,980 permits for drilling in the Utica Shale since December 2009 based on data from the Department of Natural Resources.  A total of 1,543 Utica wells have been drilled since December 2009, an increase of eight since ODNR's previous update on July 18, 2015, the industry group said. In addition, 926 wells are in production.  Carroll County has the most Utica Shale permits at 495. Harrison County has 365 permits and Belmont County has 239.

Duck Banding

By Levi Arnold, Wildlife/Forestry Specialist

As fall approaches, something’s are always a constant. Many people associate the leaves changing as a sign of fall. Many people notice birds beginning to migrate and to many, no migrational phenomenon is better than that of waterfowl. But do you ever wonder how do we ever know where these birds end up after departing where we last see them? Just how far can these things travel? Or, will they ever return back to the same spot?

Lots of research has been done over the years to determine the answers to all of these questions. Many state and federal angencies like the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) work in colaboration with each other to see that little tracking devices get put into place on these creatures in the form of metal bands. Once the ducklings or goslings are big enough, these creatures are unharmfully trapped and fitted with their very own piece of jewelry, think of it as an ankle bracelet. Each band is carefully placed around the young birds leg with enough space for the bird to grow and mature but yet it won't slip off of the bird's foot.

Each individual band has a different number on it; when the bird is fitted for a band the birds age, sex, and location is noted and then placed in a database. The way that this information is transferred back to the USGS is typically by telephone. When a hunter takes a bird that is fitted with a band they are encouraged to call the phone number on the band to report a series of questions that can help them gather valuable data.

Another way data is gathered is by recapturing birds during banding time that have already been fitted with a band. Their information is recorded and entered into a database to keep a track on that particular birds migrational pattern. After time, their origonal bands can become worn and illegible. If a recapture birds band is illegible, it is replaced and given a new band.

Banding waterfowl has lead to some pretty neat facts, like that the oldest waterfowl to ever be taken by a hunter were a Canvasback and a goose taken by two different people but both at the ripe old age of twenty-nine years old. With banding we also know that“Blue-winged teal migrate the farther south than any other North American waterfowl. A bluewing was banded near Oak Lake, Manitoba, was shot by a hunter near Lima, Peru, more than four thousand miles to the south.” (

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Smokey Bear Greets Fairgoers

The Columbus Dispatch- Kathy Lynn Gray

A 21st-century Smokey Bear will greet Ohio State Fair visitors!
The retiring Smokey — an iconic figure at the fair for 55 years — could end up at a state-park lodge or a museum, or in a traveling exhibit.

After hesitating last summer, the state Controlling Board approved spending the $80,250 it  cost to create the new Smokey. The money is a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, but it needed board approval because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is contracting for the work.

Old Smokey didn’t move a muscle, but new Smokey will move his head up and down and side to side. His mouth will open and shut, and he’ll speak preprogrammed messages such as “Only you can prevent forest fires,” said Matt Eiselstein, a Natural Resources spokesman.

“We were looking for a lifelike experience for our little fairgoers,” Eiselstein said.

Like old Smokey, the new version will tower at 14 feet, with a shovel in one hand and a brown ranger hat atop his furry head.

His handlers still will sit in the adjacent building to give Smokey a voice. Workers still will quietly ask parents for their children’s names and convey the information to handlers so that Smokey can call the children by name.

“Many adults, including myself, remember going to the Natural Resources park as a child and being greeted by Smokey,” said fair spokeswoman Alicia Shoults. “Ohio families make it a point to see Smokey every year.”

Smokey Bear has been a fire-prevention spokesman nationwide for 70 years. The Forest Service created him after first considering a deer — the Disney movie Bambi was popular at the time — but the movie studio would authorize Bambi’s use for only a year, according to A bear was chosen instead and began promoting the message in 1944.

At Natural Resources, lots of ideas are being tossed around for old Smokey, but no decision has been made as to where he’ll land, Eiselstein said.

No matter where he goes, he’ll have to be spruced up a bit, perhaps getting new fur and a new pair of blue jeans (waist size: 154 inches).

“Old Smokey has been quite a trouper, standing out in the rain and sun and heat for more than

50 years,” Eiselstein said. “It was time for a new one.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Conservation Camp - Back to the Basics - Day 2

Day Two:  Another perfectly gorgeous day, perfect for hiking in the woods. Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Levi Arnold, took the kids on a walk to show them the different plants and trees that grow in the woods and discuss wildlife habitat.
Longtime volunteer Dee Carter, retired science teacher, taught a class on basic soil information. As usual she made what might seem like a boring subject fun!
 The kids got to make an edible soil profile with marshmallows, Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, M&Ms, and as a final topping, gummy worms. Each item represented a different component of the soil profile: bedrock, subsoil, topsoil, humus & vegetation, and the decomposers that turn organic matter into rich soil fertilizers.
 Ag Resource Specialist Jason Tyrell taught a class on basic orienteering and then the kids took what they learned and used their compasses to build and use a scavenger hunt course.
 After a lunch break, the kids spread out and made all sorts of crafts. Anna Hodges and some youth volunteers brought the crafts and helped the kids make their treasures. Then it was off to the bus to ride home, with a new backpack full of booklets, puzzles, and other interesting handouts to take home and use to remind them of what they'd learned at camp. Whew! We were all tired - especially the adults.
A big thank you to our volunteer nurse, Kerry Linton, for her help both days.

2015 Conservation Camp - Back to Our Roots - our 30th year!

Day one of our 30th annual Conservation Camp. 
30 years ago, the campers spent a day at Salt Fork learning about the park. So we went back to the lake this year, and this time the kids spent the morning canoeing, fishing, and learning archery.

 Kara Musser from Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District taught the canoeing class.  That is her in the blue hat, adjusting a life vest for one of the students.  SAFETY FIRST!

 After lunch, the ODNR Fish unit staff did a fish shocking demo and talked to the kids about their work and research. Then Brooke Johnson  and Erica Showalter from Deerassic Park came and played some educational games.

Many thanks to the Hodges, Katie and Karen, and to their friend Diego, for all their help.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GSWCD Hosts Soils Pit Program

GSWCD Hosts Soils Pit Program
                Ever wonder what lies beneath your feet? Soils are very complex. There are various types of soils everywhere you go, with benefits and drawbacks to all types. Whether you are planting a garden, reseeding a hay field, constructing a pond or building a structure, knowing your soil types and the characteristics of those soils are essential. The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is putting on a Soils Pit Program on Thursday August 6th at 6:00pm. The location of the event will be at the Hodges Farm at 67410 Oldham Rd. Cambridge OH, 43725. The program will cover everything from soil health and soil structure, to soil testing benefits and teaching the proper technique when soil testing. This is a hands on program, where you will be able to see and feel the different soil layers; humus, topsoil, and subsoil.   Presenters will include State Soil Scientist – Steve Prebonic, OSU Extension Educator – Clif Little, and GSWCD Ag Resource Specialist – Jason Tyrell. To register for this free event, please call Jason Tyrell at 740-489-5276 by August 5th.

Ohio Prairie Conference in Dayton 8-1-15

For full details, go to

Monday, July 20, 2015

Noble Conservation Camp, Day 2

Here is Jason Tyrell, our Ag Resource Specialist, on the right  He is assisting
Kara Musser of MWCD with a beginning canoeing class for all the students
at Noble SWCD's conservation day camp last week.   The kids spent the afternoon
swimming and canoeing at Wolf Creek Lake State Park just outside Belle Valley.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why care about aquatic macroinvertebrates?

Drawing of aquatic macroinvertebrates by Jennifer Gillies,

By Cynthia Tait, Forest Service Regional Aquatics Ecologist, Intermountain Region

What is an aquatic macroinvertebrate? Let's break down the term. "Aquatic" means water, "macro" means big (or big enough for us to see without using a microscope) and "invertebrate" means without a backbone. Many macroinvertebrates make their homes amid rocks, leaves, and sediment in stream beds. Some common examples of these animals are: crayfish, clams, snails, aquatic worms, and a variety of aquatic insect larvae, such as stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies, dragonflies, and damselflies. In addition to being an integral component of aquatic ecosystems, macroinvertebrates are also used to draw conclusions about the overall health of our streams.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates are a vital part of aquatic and terrestrial food chains. They graze on algae (and each other!) and break down leaves and sticks that fall into the water. They are, in turn, fed on by fish and salamanders. Aquatic insects that emerge from the water in swarms, such as mayflies, midges, and dragonflies, are important food sources for riparian song birds and bats.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates are also good indicators of water quality. In fact, the EPA and most states in the U.S. monitor water quality by measuring the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrate communities. Different types of macroinvertebrates tolerate different stream conditions and levels of pollution. Depending on which macroinvertebrates are found in a stream, predictions about water quality can be made. For example, caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies prefer cold, clear, well-oxygenated water (like trout do) and cannot live in polluted water with excess nutrients and sediment. If these insects are present in a stream, the water quality there is probably good. Other macroinvertebrates, such as dragonflies, blackflies, midges, and flatworms, are more tolerant of warm, muddy, and nutrient-rich conditions, and their presence at a site might suggest lower water quality.
Macroinvertebrates are collected using a net positioned on the stream bed as rocks and sediment are overturned upstream. After each catch, the organisms are identified, sorted by species and recorded on a data sheet. At the end of the stream monitoring session, some simple calculations based on which macroinvertebrates are present creates an ecological rating which estimates water quality of the site. Currently, only a fraction of waterbodies in the U.S. are monitored by state and federal agencies, and we know very little about the condition of many streams and rivers, even in our own backyards. It is up to volunteers to do additional monitoring to protect the health of our streams.
Stream monitoring is a fun, easy way to determine if your local stream has been impacted by pollution sources. There are many state programs throughout the country that involve and train volunteers for macroinvertebrate stream monitoring. Check out some typical websites, below:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Noble SWCD conservation camp

Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist, Levi Arnold, is helping with the Noble SWCD Conservation Camp today. He and the kids are making hummingbird feeders. Tomorrow, Ag Resource Specialist Jason Tyrell will be teaching their campers canoeing on Wolf Run Lake

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Grazing Cover Crops

Heifers grazing on cover crop in August

June 15, 2015 8:00 am  •  Sarah Brown, The Prairie Star(0) Comments

BALLANTINE, Mont. – Some years ago, farmer Marc Vogel began experimenting with using mixed seed cover crops as an alternative to leaving land fallow, the practice of leaving land uncultivated that’s been used for more than a century by farmers here to recharge the soil.

“It’s an old, old idea that’s coming back,” said Marc Vogel, 32, a fourth generation farmer, who works with his two brothers, father and uncle on their family farm and feedlot in Ballantine.

Vogel found that leaving land fallow boosted soil moisture, but had some harmful side effects: increased saline seep, nitrate leaching and erosion and decreased organic matter and microbiological activity.

“It doesn’t reflect how Mother Nature would have her system,” said his wife, agronomist Kate Vogel, 32.

Rather, by planting multiple plant species together to cover soil in the off season, a practice known as mixed seed cover cropping, Vogel could enhance the chemical, physical and biological properties of his soil to increase subsequent crop yields and protein.

The central idea is that certain crops perform certain functions, Kate said, so fibrous rooted crops, buckwheat and millet for example, might provide extra organic material and build soil structure.

Similarly, deep rooted crops such as forage collards and safflower might help break up a hard pan, bringing nutrients into the root zone and making them available in the surface for the subsequent crop.

In addition, the different flowering species like phacelia and sunflower attract pollinators and good insects, like ladybugs, that kill pests, like aphids.

But using mixed seed cover crops is only one element of improving soil health, Kate said.

Farmers, her husband included, are again employing some age-old principles to protect and insulate their soil: don’t till; increase residue cover; increase crop diversity and introduce livestock; and increase the length of time living roots are growing, she said.

“It is a new way of thinking of farming, but it is not completely out in left field,” Marc said. “But it’s a long term investment, like buying stocks and investing in your future.”

With the paradigm shifting to what they believe is a more sustainable model, the Vogels saw an opportunity.

“Cover crop seed was hard to get a hold of and there was not a lot of knowledge out there,” said Kate.

The husband and wife teamed up to form North 40 Ag, a seed and agronomy company, whose tag line is, “Beyond sustainable.”

Marc has an agriculture degree from Montana State University and years of farming under his belt. Kate has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agronomy from Colorado State University, and worked for years as consultant with the oil and gas industry and, later, for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Their enthusiasm for cover crops runs deep. The pair married in a Ballantine cornfield in 2013, using cover crops – millets, sunflowers, safflower, radish and sorghum – for the bouquet.

The Vogels’ business, North 40 Ag, shares warehouse space with the Worden-Ballantine water and sewer district. They partner with Green Cover Seed in Nebraska, a company who gets much of its seed from Montana.

The Vogels create custom seed mixes to address their clients’ needs by using their personal experience and pairing it with a software program that factors in variables such as precipitation, number of frost free days, the carbon to nitrogen ratio, whether a producer has animals grazing, and the salinity of the soil.

North 40 Ag has moved more than 400,000 pounds of seed into Montana and Wyoming since March.

The seed cocktails, as the Vogels like to refer to their mixes, have gone out all over the state, but they use them on their land as well. At the end of May, Marc was preparing to put in two different warm season mixes designed to address different issues he’s facing on different parts of his family’s farm.

After a certain point, he’ll let his cows forage on the cover crop, who will return the favor with their manure, nature’s fertilizer.

Vogel has been using the mixed seed cover crops on his farm for five years, a decision he concedes requires, “a whole new level of management,” but says the benefits – increased organic matter, soil microbial activity, water retention and nutrient availability and decreased nitrate leaching and erosion – are hard to quantify.

“It’s not an overnight success story,” Marc said. “We’re looking long term.”

Monday, July 13, 2015

West Nile risk elevated

Department of Health: Ohio is experiencing a rise in mosquitoes this summer due to heavy rains, bringing added risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus, according to state health officials.  So far, five areas have seen mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus, including Columbus along with Franklin, Richland, Summit, and Licking counties. To date, no human cases of the virus have been reported, the department said in a release.  ODH medical director Mary DiOrio said the positive tests are a good reminder that "individuals should take precautions - use insect repellents, limit exposure when mosquitoes are active, and remove breeding sources - to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites."  "There is more mosquito activity now than we've seen at this time of year for several years - but still much lower than in our WNV outbreak years of 2002 and 2012," Dr. DiOrio said.

To avoid possible infection, the ODH recommends:
·         Wearing EPA-registered mosquito repellants
·         Wearing long, loose, light-colored clothing
·         Installing or repairing screens on windows and doors
·         Removing temporary pools of water around your house or yard
·         Keeping children's wading pools empty and on their sides while not in use
·         Emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, birdbaths and other sources

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lake Erie experts predict near-record toxic algae bloom this summer

Lake Erie experts predict near-record toxic algae bloom this summer; rainy June to blame
Northeast Ohio Birding - The Plain Dealer
McCarty, James

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Experts who track the health of Lake Erie today released their predictions for this summer's toxic algae bloom, and they weren't optimistic. 

Another huge swath of blue-green goo likely will materialize next month, and reach its peak in September, based on one of the soggiest Junes in 85 years and an unprecedented discharge of algae-feeding phosphorus into the lake's western basin. 

"We're looking at a bloom forecast that is definitely worse that 2014, and is potentially the second-most severe bloom in history, behind the record-setting bloom of 2011" said Rick Stumpf, an oceanographer and algae bloom specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

"It's a huge problem for the western basin, but it's not the whole lake," Stumpf said, adding that a spread to Cleveland was unlikely. 

Stumpf made the announcement today from Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory annex on Put-in-Bay. He was joined by scientists and researchers from OSU's Sea Grant Program and Heidelberg University who help to monitor the lake and algae blooms that have flourished there for the past 20 years. 

Last summer's bloom forced the shut-down of Toledo's public drinking-water system after prevailing winds kept the algae concentrated near the city's intake pipes, contaminating the water with toxic microcystis cells the treatment plant was unprepared to handle. 

Stumpf called the Toledo water crisis a phenomenon, explaining how the bloom developed in July "with a rapid intensification beyond the scope of the bloom itself," directly over the water intake pipes. "And it was toxic." 

The water was undrinkable for two days, but fine for the rest of the summer, even though the algae bloom continued well into September. 

This summer's algae bloom could approach the expansive bloom of 2011, and exceed the bloom of 2013, which stretched all the way to Cleveland. But those prospects could change, depending on the amount of rainfall, lake temperature and wind direction, Stumpf said. 

For instance, the 2011 bloom not only contained a huge amount of algae, but it became an "unusual event" after a strong weather front in October pushed the bloom more than 100 miles eastward to Cleveland, where it stalled after the weather turned calm. 

"There is a possibility that could happen again," Stumpf said. "The nutrients are there" this year for a repeat of 2011. 
The algae thrives on phosphorus, which is contained in commercial farm fertilizers, manure and sewage. The torrential rains of June flushed tons of phosphorus from fields of corn and soybeans into creeks and streams, which was carried to the Maumee River and the lake. The larger the phosphorus load, the larger the algae bloom, said Laura Johnson of Heidelberg University. 

Although the toxic algae blooms are found in all of the Great Lakes, they are largest in the western end of Lake Erie, which is shallower and warmer than the rest of the lakes. 

Meanwhile, farmers and the United States and Canada are seeking ways to reduce by 20 percent the amount of phosphorus that gets into the lake over the next five years, and by 40 percent by 2025. 

"This is going to be a heavy bloom year, so we have to make sure another Toledo never happens again," said Dr. Chris Winslow, director of Ohio Sea Grant, citing the phosphorus reduction initiative. "But it's not going to happen overnight." 

Farmers in the western basin have until July 17 to apply for a piece of $17.5 million in federal money, which is earmarked for planting cover crops and trees, installing drainage-control structures, and creating more buffer strips to help reduce algae-forming nutrients in Northwest Ohio streams and rivers. 

Adam Rissien, the Ohio Environment Council's director of agricultural and water policy, said safe drinking water and clean beaches "should not be held hostage by the whims of the weather." 

"Farmers should only apply the amount of nutrients crops actually need to grow, which requires testing the soil and matching application rates to what the crops need," Rissien said.

Summary of 2014 Bobcat Observations in Ohio

Bobcat at Columbus Zoo
Division of Wildlife
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Waterloo Wildlife Research Station
Athens, OH 45701 15

June 2015

Summary of 2014 Bobcat Observations in Ohio

  Bobcats were found throughout Ohio in early settlement times. They were concentrated primarily in the large, lowland areas of the north and unglaciated Allegheny Plateau region of the southeastern portion of the state. As swamps and lowlands were drained and forests cleared to make way for settlements and cropland, the bobcat population declined. By 1850, they were considered extirpated from the state. From 1850 through the 1960s, there were occasional reports of bobcats, mainly in eastern Ohio. From 1970 through 2014, there have been 1,195 verified (e.g., positive identification via roadkill, incidental trappings, etc.) reports of bobcats in Ohio. The bobcat was removed from the Ohio Endangered and Threatened Species List in July 2014, but remains protected (no harvest season). In 1997, a project was initiated by the Division of Wildlife to systematically monitor the status of bobcats in Ohio.

  Unverified reports – A total of 2,349 unverified bobcat sightings was received from 1970-2014; the annual number of which has been declining over the past several years: 176 in 2014, 226 in 2013, and 242 unverified reports in 2012. Unverified sightings were reported from 54 counties during 2014 and from 86 counties since 1970 (Fig. 1). Unverified reports in 2014 were obtained primarily through Call Center (n = 63; 36%).

  Verified reports – Verified reports represent positive identification of a bobcat, usually as a result of the animal being killed on the road, photographed, or incidentally trapped. Verified reports provide the best information regarding the distribution and abundance of bobcats in Ohio. Further, they provide an important index of change in annual relative abundance. Since 1970, there have been 1,195 verified reports of bobcats in Ohio, of which the great majority have occurred since 2000 (n = 1,167; 98%). There were 197 verified bobcat reports in 2014, similar to that of the previous year (n = 200). These 197 reports included 110 trail camera pictures or videos, 43 roadkills, 16 incidentally trapped bobcats, 15 photographs, 12 sightings by Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff or other qualified personnel, and 1 observation of tracks. Verified bobcat reports were documented in 39 counties during 2014 and in 58 counties since 1970 (Fig. 2). Bobcat sightings during 2014 continue to be highly aggregated. Of the 197 verified reports, 22 (11%) were from Noble County, and 97 (49%) were reported within a 1-county radius of Noble County.

  Overall, verified sightings have increased steadily over the past decade, only decreasing in apparent growth over the past year (Fig. 3). Bobcat mortality, particularly vehicle-related, has historically been the primary source of verified sightings. Prior to 2006, trail cameras photos were a negligible source of sightings. Since that time, however, the number of sightings via trail camera photos has increased dramatically. In 2008, trail camera photographs became the primary source. Other sources of verified sightings, although generally increasing over time, have not shown the same rapid increase (Fig. 4). It is likely that the growing popularity of trail cameras, as well as the decline in their cost, is largely responsible for the increase in the receipt of trail camera photos of bobcats. As such, this source of data is biased and should be interpreted with caution.

  The decline in the number of unverified sightings over the past several years and the stabilization of verified sightings over the past 2 years is likely due in part to decreased interest in reporting sightings given the bobcat’s change in status to threatened and subsequent delisting. Given the numerous confounding factors involved in the use of sighting data as an index to relative abundance, a new method of tracking bobcat abundance (e.g., track stations, camera stations, etc.) should be implemented and initial data obtained before a trapping season is implemented.

  We thank Division of Wildlife personnel who were involved in investigating and reporting observations.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Is your corn N deficient?

July 6, 2015 By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.

June 2015 has been a very wet month in most of the Corn Belt setting new records in many places. Some of the corn fields I have visited recently are showing N-deficiency symptoms. Nitrogen is one of the most important elements needed by all green plants for chlorophyll production and for photosynthesis. Urgent action is needed in some fields to save this crop.
• If lower leaves of your corn crop are getting yellowish, starting in mid-rib and moving towards edges, there is a good chance it is a sign of N-deficiency.
• Should you apply additional nitrogen? It depends on how, when and how much nitrogen you have already applied? Did you apply it in the fall and use a nitrogen stabilizer? What form of nitrogen did you use? Do you generally sidedress?
• Some people have suggested soil testing before sidedressing. Well, that may be OK if you had plenty of time, but in my opinion, these tests during the growing season are not reliable, especially with lot of rains we have experienced in June this year.
• Even tissue tests and optical sensors developed so far are not dependable in predicting the needs of corn plant. You are trying to rescue your crop and based on your soil type, planting date and yield potential, you should apply adequate amount of nitrogen when signs of N-deficiency are apparent.
• You need to have a total of 0.8 to 0.9 pound of N per bushel of expected yield. Corn plants need nitrogen now, before tassel emergence when it is growing fast. So don’t waste a lot of time doing testing at this time and apply a realistic amount of N as soon as possible.

• You can also use foliar applications of nitrogen to supplement the amount you need later, if necessary, but make sure your crop is not suffering from lack of this essential nutrient if you want to harvest a good crop!

Livestock need good quality drinking water

July 6, 2015 By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County
As temperatures increase, so does the water requirement of our livestock. Most livestock owners know the nutrient content of the grains and forages they are feeding their livestock and can tell you if the feedstuff is low, medium or high quality. Do you know how your livestock water quality measures up? Water is the most essential of all nutrients required for our livestock but often other than making sure that water is available in sufficient quantity, little thought is given to the quality of that water. A lactating dairy cow has the highest daily water requirement of any of our farm livestock, consuming on average 25 gallons of water per day. Given that milk is 87% water, it is understandable that the daily water intake is so high. A lactating beef cow will drink on average 14 to 15 gallons per day; lactating sheep between three to four gallons per day, goats between two to three gallons per day and a lactating sow around five gallons per day. However the quantity of water consumed can be influenced by quality factors such as odor, taste, physical and chemical properties, mineral content, toxic compounds and microbial contamination. If quality is not adequate then consumption decreases, which can affect animal performance and health.
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Division of Soils moves from ODNR to ODA

A change made at the state level will have little effect in the way the district services its customers, according to all parties involved.   The district will continue to work closely with state DSWR staff, and of course district personnel will remain the same.  The district will continue to be directed by the local board of supervisors, who are volunteers elected by county residents.

A provision in the state budget signed by Governor Kasich transfers the Division of Soils to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
ODA Director Dave Daniels says from the agency’s perspective he’s excited.

“This is going to give us more of an opportunity to be a resource for more farmers, all across the state,” Daniels said. “It’s going to give our department more of an opportunity to work directly with those folks and be a resource to them.”

The Director says both the Department of Agriculture and ODNR are working to make the transfer as seamless as possible. And while the transfer doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2016, ODA is ready for employees to make the move at any time.

“We’re going to be transferring all of the personnel over here,” said Director Daniels. “So the people in the field are still gonna be working with the same people that they worked with at ODNR, those people are gonna come over here and work out of our shop.”

2015 Ohio Tree Farm Tour local this year!

From Jeremy Scherf, Ohio Division of Forestry

Alan Walter and his Harrison County Sycamore Hill Tree Farm are being honored as the 2015 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year.  Please join us for a tour of his property just outside of Scio, OH on September 19th.  Alan has done a great job managing his timber as well as managing for non-game wildlife species.  Come see how he has done this while also seeing his positive interaction as a deep well pad and access road was constructed on his property.  Over 50 different presentations and displays will be available throughout the day.  We hope to see you there!  The attached flyer has more details.