Ice, ice, very nice

Many moons ago, as a wet-behind-the-ears grad student, I spent a winter living and working at CFAES’s Stone Laboratory at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie. The winter was a good one for cold, snow, and ice, the lake freezing over in late December, the ice being broken up once by a storm, but then locking in and staying that way, solid, thick, and getting thicker, right into March. My roommate would drive his van on the lake, hauling his ice fishing gear. Guys from Canada’s Pelee Island would zip to Put-in-Bay by snowmobile, a distance of about 5 miles. Dozens of ice fishing shanties, a semi-permanent village, dotted a part of the lake where I’d seen a lone Lyman boat cruising just two months before, a mildish day in early December, the water black, eerily calm, but still then definitely liquid.

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A focus on keeping Lake Erie healthy

Classes and workshops at Stone Laboratory are helping educate the next generation of Lake Erie water quality scientists, says an article in the latest issue of Ohio Sea Grant’s Twine Line newsletter.

Stone Lab, part of CFAES, is located at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie. (Photo: 2018 Introduction to Aquatic Biology course, Stone Lab, Daniel Combs, via Flickr.)

Support Stone Lab at Cleveland boat show

Attend the Progressive Mid-America Boat Show, set for Jan. 17-21 in Cleveland, and you can talk with and learn experts from Ohio Sea Grant. Go on Jan. 21 specifically — designated as Lake Erie Day — and you can do that plus support CFAES’s Stone Laboratory on the lake with the purchase of your ticket.

(Photo: Stone Lab’s M/V BioLab research vessel, Ohio Sea Grant, via Flickr.)

Better ways to prevent algal blooms

From a press release today by Ohio State science writer Misti Crane: “Predicting and pinpointing which farming practices are most likely to protect against environmental harm is a complex proposition, and researchers at The Ohio State University are working to fine-tune the tools that could help farmers and others prevent harmful algal blooms.” The researchers are with CFAES, and you can read the full story here.

How climate change is affecting water

“The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.”

So say some of the summary findings of the recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment.

“Rising air and water temperatures and changes in precipitation are intensifying droughts, increasing heavy downpours, reducing snowpack, and causing declines in surface water quality, with varying impacts across regions,” the findings also say.

Read all of the report’s summary findings on water. Check out the report’s complete “Water” chapter.

How to ID Ohio’s aquatic invasive species

Want some good cold-weather reading? Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant program offers a 160-page PDF e-book called Ohio Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species, with color photos for identifying aquatic invasive species and tips for preventing their introduction and spread. Featured are fish, plants, algae, mussels, crustaceans and others, including bighead carp, silver carp, didymo (an alga also called “rock snot”), fishhook waterflea, red swamp crayfish and Eurasian watermilfoil, to name just a few.

Ohio Sea Grant Specialist Tory Gabriel and Eugene Braig, CFAES aquatic ecosystems program director, helped produce the guide, whose introduction says, “Identifying and preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species are the keys to averting long-term ecosystem damage and ensuring the highest probability of effective control.”

Find details and links for downloading the guide.

A deeper look at elevated phosphorus

Some farm fields have more phosphorus than their crops need. Called elevated phosphorus fields, such fields may be at higher risk of contributing to Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.

That’s the premise of a new five-year study, based in northwest Ohio’s Maumee River watershed, that hopes to better understand those fields. How much phosphorus, an algal bloom-fueling nutrient, runs off of them? What are the best ways to limit that runoff while also maintaining yields?

CFAES scientist Jay Martin is leading the study, which is partnering with some of the watershed’s nutrient service providers and farmers.

Read the full story. (Photo: Getty Images.)

Are harmful algal blooms making people sick?

The 2018 Environmental Film Series sponsored by CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources continues tonight, Monday, Nov. 5, with “Toxic Puzzle,” a look at how harmful algal blooms may be affecting human health, specifically as possible triggers for Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Watch the trailer above.

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