Sept. 30: Economics of controlling algal blooms

lakeerie_oli_2014213_lrgCFAES economists will discuss the economics behind water pollution control, particularly regarding harmful algal blooms, in a free hourlong webinar at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 30. “Despite years of efforts to reduce phosphorus, our traditional conservation approaches appear not to be working as well as we wish,” said CFAES environmental economist Brent Sohngen, one of the presenters. “It is really useful now for the farm community and our policymakers to at least consider taking stronger steps to limit phosphorus emissions.” Read more. (Photo: August 2014 Toledo algal bloom, NASA Earth Observatory.)

Sept. 29: Dedication of Ben Stinner Pollinator Garden

monarch on flower 2CFAES’s Department of Entomology will dedicate the new Ben Stinner Pollinator Garden from 3:30-5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 29, next to Thorne Hall at CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster (comments at 4 p.m.). “The garden,” says a notice about the event, “is a tribute to Ben’s life and work.” Stinner was one of CFAES’s sustainable agriculture pioneers and leaders and was head of its Agroecosystems Management Program at the time of his death, at age 50, in a 2004 car crash. His impact on CFAES and the people, farms and ecosystems around him was and is wide and deep. Details: (Photo: Monarch butterfly, iStock.)

Sept. 25: Past, present and future of renewable energy in Ohio

EO2.e3760a873ea2da1ff8e019af22b1791fEric Romich, pictured, left, energy development field specialist for CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, presents “Renewable Energy in Ohio: Historical Perspective, Current Trends and Future Projections” at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, in 081 Halterman Hall, 1328 Dover Road, at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. An email about the talk says Romich “finds himself ‘in the trenches’ for the university on a daily basis.” He’s also a member of ATI’s Renewable Energy Program advisory panel. ATI is CFAES’s two-year degree-granting unit. It offers among its majors an associate of science degree in renewable energy. Details:

Food pH sensor, developed by CFAES scientists, also may help study oceans

A pH sensor originally developed by CFAES scientists for the food industry, designed to measure the acidity of food processed under high pressure, may end up serving double duty — by measuring the pH of water deep in the ocean, a place under pressure as well (literally, due simply to the weight of the water; figuratively, due to carbon dioxide-fueled ocean acidification). Read the story.

In case you missed it

More than 310,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday — the largest climate change protest in global history and one of America’s largest mass protests of any kind. Other rallies drew 40,000 in London, England; 30,000 in Melbourne, Australia; and 4,000 in Berlin. In all, more than 2,800 rallies took place in 166 countries on Sunday, part of a worldwide call for action to address global warming. Slideshows in, among others, the Guardian (UK), the Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.

Oct. 14: How to stop algal blooms, keep drinking water safe

picture of child drinking water 2October’s monthly breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network will look at preventing another Toledo water crisis. Jeff Reutter, head of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, will moderate two panel discussions — one on scientific solutions to reducing phosphorus runoff, including new on-farm practices and technology; and one on policy, such as new laws, rules and outreach. Details.

Feedback from Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters workshop

In Columbus, Ohio, last week, 100 invited participants from 11 states and Canada attended the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters workshop. The workshop was organized by CFAES and Greenleaf Advisors with sponsorship from Gypsoil. The focus of the workshop was on reducing and preventing excess nutrient exports, associated with crop production systems, that are causing hypoxia and harmful algal blooms. CFAES Dean Bruce McPheron gave the opening welcome; Steve Slack, director of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, was among the participants.

A common voice was that:

• The problem needs to be solved, as food, water, energy and the environment are all important.

• Solutions should be site-specific.

• These are complex systems that require a systems approach to formulate solutions.

• Farmers must be involved in developing the solutions.

• Approaches need to sustain agricultural productivity and economic viability.

• The performance of different agricultural and conservation practices is very variable, so improved knowledge and outreach education is needed on where practices do or do not work.

• More soil testing and edge-of-field monitoring is needed to identify fields that have excess nutrient loads or are not a problem.

The participants will reconvene at a symposium in May 2015 to present results from more than a dozen case studies where stakeholder teams that include scientists and farmers have determined what it will take, at field to watershed scales, to meet water quality targets. The May symposium will be open to the public.

For more information, email

Out of the classroom, into the field

bob gatesCFAES’s Bob Gates recently completed a summer faculty fellowship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Based in the agency’s East Lansing, Michigan, field office, he focused on wetland conservation during the program’s six weeks. An associate professor of wildlife ecology, he’s pictured, left, with Denny Albert of USFWS in a marsh on northern Lake Michigan. Read the story. (Photo: Greg Soulliere, USFWS.)

Protecting, improving our water? Ohio State is ‘well positioned to lead the way’

picture from water quality videoCFAES Dean Bruce McPheron, Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and others, speaking Sept. 16 at Farm Science Review, talk about Ohio State’s new $1 million Field to Faucet water quality initiative. Watch (6:02). Previous related post.