Click here to learn more about getting involved with bat surveys with ODNR!
From the desk of Warren County SWCD Staff
Ohio mobile bat acoustic surveys have taken place since 2011 and currently consist of 42 routes in 41 counties. Surveys began after white-nose syndrome (WNS) was discovered in a hibernaculum in Lawrence County, Ohio. This disease has killed an estimated six million bats in the United States and Canada since 2007 (USFWS, 2012). The goal of this project was to non-invasively monitor the summer bat populations in Ohio and determine the negative effects (e.g. population declines and loss of species diversity) that WNS may be having statewide. Because bats are the primary predator of night-flying insects, they are incredibly important to the ecosystem and for agriculture by reducing pesticide loads and crop damage. Bats are estimated to save around $3.7 billion dollars each year for the agriculture industry. Mobile bat acoustic surveys allow the Division of Wildlife to determine if winter declines are consistent in the summer populations. Survey results are compared annually to monitor changes in bat abundance along each route. (Read full report here)
Click here to learn more about getting involved with bat surveys with ODNR!
Are you looking to install a rain barrel at your home?
There are a number of different options available to you from purchasing a ready made barrel at a home improvement store to making your own system using a diverter kit and a recycled drum. Rain barrels capture water from a roof and hold it for later use. Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels is helpful in conserving water and reducing your water bill by providing free water for use in your landscape.
This month join us for a resident workshop where we will teach you the basic components and uses for your rain barrel and assist you in retrofitting a 50-gallon drum with an EarthMinded DIY Rain Barrel Diversion Kit. The cost of the workshop is free, however there is a $45 fee to purchase the rain barrel and diversion kit. Please limit to one per household. Multiple family members may attend with one RSVP. At the end of the presentation we will have planned time to help with installing the rain barrel kit. We will help drill holes and show you how your kit works.
Wednesday, June 20
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Fire Station 57
3435 U.S. Route 22 & 3
Click Here to RSVP
If you would like to retrofit a barrel on your own check out our DIY Rain Barrel Guide below:
This morning we celebrated the success of the J.F. Burns Elementary School Rain Garden Project with a ribbon cutting ceremony! Representatives from all project partners, along with students and teachers gathered around the rain garden to celebrate this special project. The program included an award presentation, ribbon cutting, and a performance by the elementary school choir.
What is a rain garden?
A rain garden is a planted area that collects rainwater runoff from impervious surfaces, like the parking lot, and allows the water to absorb back into the ground. The plants act as a sponge to soak up the water and work to remove the pollutants from the parking lot runoff.
Rain gardens also provide habitat for wildlife, including our very important pollinators. Butterflies and bees will visit here often to collect nectar from the flowers.
How does a rain garden work?
When it rains, storm drains along roads and parking lots carry rainwater to our streams and rivers. By redirecting water into a rain garden on the campus of J.F. Burns Elementary, we are preventing pollution from flowing downstream to Landen Lake. Rain gardens also provide habitat for wildlife, including our very important pollinators.
We are very fortunate to work with local partners to complete projects like the J.F. Burns Elementary School Rain Garden within our county. Projects like this one have a variety of benefits including beautification, education and water quality improvements for the school and the local watershed. Partners on this project include Deerfield Regional Storm Water District, Deerfield Township Kings Local Schools, MSP Design, United Way, Evans Landscaping and Reading Rock.
April showers bring May flowers, and now is the time to start thinking about getting your soil tested! Getting your soil tested helps you find out what your lawn and garden needs and ensures that you are not over fertilizing or hurting your plants. Over fertilizing means you are putting more nutrients into your soil than your plant needs to survive. So instead of being used, the nutrients get carried away by runoff and cause pollution problems in lakes, streams, and even groundwater.
Did you know that the major cause of algae blooms is too many nutrients in the water? We all have a responsibility to help reduce the likelihood of harmful algal blooms in places like the Little Miami River, Caesar's Creek Lake, Landon Lake, and other ponds, lakes, and streams in our community. Before you head out to shop for your outdoor landscape this spring, consider purchasing a soil test from us here at the Soil & Water Conservation District. Or, if you have a lawn service, make sure they conduct a soil test before adding anything to your lawn.
We sell soil test kits for $15 ($20 to add an organic matter test) during regular business hours at our office located in Lebanon at 320 E. Silver Street. Or you can give us a call at 513-695-1337 and we can mail you a test for an additional postage cost of a dollar or more.
Some of the questions we often get are listed below:
How do I take a soil sample?
What does it test for?
Your soil test will determine the soil nutrient levels for pH, Phosphours (P), Potassium (K), and Magnesium (Mg). The test will also let you know if you are below optimum, optimum, or above optimum for each of these nutrients. You will also get information on Calcium and the Cationic Exchange Capacity (CEC). Soils with a high CEC will remain fertile over a longer period of time, requiring fewer fertilizer applications. Soil pH will determine the way nutrients are made available to the plants.
Why doesn't it test for Nitrogen?
Nitrogen moves quickly through the soil, and some forms dissolve easily in water and are carried away with runoff. By the time your soil sample reaches the lab and they analyze it, the level of nitrogen is no longer what it was when you took the sample so the reported number would not be accurate. However, you will receive information on nutrient needs for Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium based on your test results.
Why should I test for organic matter?
Generally, soil is made up of 45% minerals (rocks), 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic matter. The organic matter is the decomposing plant and animal material inside your soil and will range anywhere from 1-6% of the soil composition. Organic matter is very important to plant nutrition. Organic matter results in less soil compaction, allowing more air to pass through and increased water storage.
When will I receive my test results?
You will receive an email with your results within 10 days after your sample is received by the lab. Without an email address, the results may take slightly longer by mail.
What do I do once I receive the results?
Your soil test report from MSU will provide you with recommendations on nutrient needs and fertilizer options based on your test results. Make sure you provide the lab with as much information about the test area as you can so they can provide more specific options. You can also go to their website: http://www.msusoiltest.com/understand-your-soil-test/ and type in your soil test details to receive a specific fertilizer ratio for N, P, and K.
Do I need to fertilize?
Not necessarily. One of the best fertilizers for your soil is compost! And once you have a container, it is free to make. You can also leave your grass clippings on your lawn after you mow to provide your grass with a ready source of fertilizer and help keep moisture on your lawn.
Give us a call at the OSU Extension office: 513-695-1853 or Soil and Water Conservation District at 513-695-1337 for more assistance.
Information for this blog post was provided by Michigan State University Extension, the Ohio State University Extension and Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Warren County SWCD Staff Blog
A blog to keep you informed on all the latest news at Warren County SWCD and in the conservation world.