One of the key parts of this survey is going out and finding new dragonflies. As not everyone can just look out into their own backyard and find cool Odes, this means we have to look for other publicly accessible land areas.
If we look at our iNaturalist project, we can see that we have several large gaps of places people have not been able to report observations. Ideally, we would fill those gaps by locating potential habitats to visit.
Only go onto private property if you have landowner permission. Always ask before you go gallivanting onto new land. Individual homeowners can be approached for permission, though caution must be used when approaching those in rural areas. Most people are more than happy to have someone interested in their flying critters, but respect their decision to decline access for any reason.
Some tempting areas are owned by private companies, but are closed to public access for safety reasons. This is especially true for many of the quarry lakes and active mines across Ohio. Although a site may look tempting via Google Maps, that does not mean it is safe to access. Always ask before you try to go to these sites.
Most of these allow public access, but be sure to read signage and obey their rules indicating whether you can go off trail or are restricted to path only en-devours. Some parks we have obtained collecting permission, but contact MaLisa Spring first to verify.
State Wildlife Areas:
Thanks to a collaboration with the Division of Wildlife, we have obtained a permit to collect Odonata from these areas. However, this permit comes with several stipulations which include notifying the district coordinator 24 hours in advance of entry into the site and having one of the listed permittes or sub-permitees present. Those included as official permittees or sub-permitees have already been contacted (unless they had an invalid email), so if you did not receive that email or are not on the provided list you can only sample when accompanied by someone else on the list. Contact MaLisa Spring (email@example.com) for more details.
Some of these are open to the public whereas others are accessible on a permit-only basis. Do your research before you try going to a site. The ODNR website has a nice list of sites that allow public access versus require a permit to enter. Please let MaLisa Spring know if you are trying to gain access to Permit-Only Nature Preserves on behalf of the Ohio Dragonfly Survey.
Army Corps of Engineers:
Limited collection is allowed on Army Corps of Engineers property as long as you follow ODNR requirements. As many of these sites are dams and locks, you should be mindful of water levels and areas that are off limits for safety reasons. The dams managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers are of particular interest because they have several types of aquatic habitat within close proximity. Many species of dragonflies and damselflies are picky about where they will develop with some preferring big lakes, whitewater, riffles, or calm streams. For a better map of US Army Corps of Engineers locations, see their website. NOTE: many of the Army Corps of Engineers property borders on State Parks and State Wildlife areas. Be mindful where you are as you can quickly cross over to these properties without knowing it. We do not yet have collecting permits for State Parks.
Other areas to look for dragons:
Many cemeteries are public access, with a few near streams.
Garden centers with small ponds are another spot to check for Odes, especially Rambur’s Forktail.
I doubt golf courses would have much in the way of Odonata diversity as they are intensively managed for vegetation and heavily treated with pesticides. I’d be interested to see any reports of diversity from these sites.
Compiled Odonata Site Map:
Still can’t decide where to go? Below is a working map of a variety of potential locations to look for Odonata that have some form of water nearby. Most are public access, but a few require either governmental or landowner permission, so do your research before you go. This should give you a good starting point to plan a day trip to a new region.
Know of a good Ode site not on the map? Let MaLisa Spring know and she will add it.