FAQ on Lake Erie impairment designation

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s draft 2018 water quality report, released yesterday, includes a proposal to designate western Lake Erie as impaired for recreation (due to harmful algal blooms) and for drinking water (due to the microcystin toxin that is sometimes produced by those blooms). Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab programs today published an FAQ about the designation to help answer people’s questions.

Our big ocean mess is getting bigger

A CNN report today said the plastic-filled Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing faster than expected and is “now three times the size of France.” France is about the same size as Texas, so picture three Texases’ worth of trash — or, closer to home, 75 Lake Eries’ worth — swirling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s one of many reasons — economic benefits — to stop adding to that mess and clean it up.

Good for both farming, Lake Erie

“We’re trying to find solutions to move the health of Lake Erie in the right direction, but at the same time, keep the ag industry vibrant,” said Chris Winslow, director of Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory programs, quoted in a March 16 story in the Port Clinton News Herald. He was speaking at the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual Agricultural Community Breakfast on March 15, and was referring to the issue of agricultural phosphorus runoff, a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other water bodies. Scientists with Ohio Sea Grant, CFAES, and other agencies and institutions are working to find ways to reduce that runoff.

He’s working to help all of us cut food waste

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, they waste so much food at restaurants and supermarkets. I’ve seen the dumpsters at the back of the stores. It’s terrible.’ In truth, it’s consumers in households where most of the food waste occurs.” So says Brian Roe, pictured, professor in CFAES’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, who studies food waste and how to reduce it and leads the Ohio State Food Waste Collaborative.

Keep reading on CFAES’s Stories website.

March 26: ‘Spaceship in the Desert’; or, how oil-rich Abu Dhabi built the world’s first ‘zero-carbon’ city

Gökçe Günel of the University of Arizona presents “Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi” at 4 p.m. March 26 in Room 1080, Derby Hall, on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Admission is free and open to the public. Ohio State’s Cultures of the Anthropecene working group, part of the Humanities Institute, is the event’s host.

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These CFAES courses are on fire (sign up!)

Hey, Ohio State students: The courses described in this story are taught during Autumn Semester. Course enrollment for Autumn Semester 2018 begins at the end of March and runs through mid- to late April. So sign up soon if you’re interested!

Students at The Ohio State University have a unique opportunity to take a two-course sequence that culminates with a real prescribed burn and certification.

The courses, offered by CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), teach about fire ecology, fire’s role in ecosystems, and managing controlled and wild fires. In the end, students prepare for and conduct a prescribed burn. Continue reading

March 22: World Water Day event at Ohio State

Ohio State is recognizing World Water Day with a Water Awareness event from noon to 3 p.m. this Thursday, March 22, in Great Hall Meeting Room #2 in the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. on the Columbus campus. Some 16 programs from Ohio State and the Columbus area will share displays on their efforts to protect water.

Some of those programs are part of or have partners from CFAES. They include Ohio Sea Grant, the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, the InFACT Discovery Theme, the Sustainable and Resilient Economy Program, the Global Water Institute, and the TerrAqua student organization.

Admission is free and open to the public. Get details.

Speaking of salamanders (and their friends)

The 2018 Ohio Amphibian and Reptile Conference is tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Online registration has ended, but you can still register at the door, space permitting ($45; $25 for students; lunch not included). Learn more.

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Salamander gander, part deux (slideshow)

See seven Ohio salamanders in the slideshow below, whose photos come from CFAES’s Getting to Know Salamanders in Ohio bulletin, now out of print but available as a PDF.

Spring means a salamander gander

Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal recently went on his first salamander search and “could not believe what we found!” He quotes Marne Titchenell, wildlife specialist in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, and mentions the college’s Getting to Know Salamanders bulletin.

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