Do your Part

Comment on pending decisions in your National Park!

Ever wonder how major environmental decisions are made? Well, the National Park Service, and other federal agencies, must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when deciding about “major federal actions having a significant effect on the environment. Essentially, a federal agency has to consider reasonable alternatives to any proposal that might significantly effect the environment, and gather public input while doing so.

They are not necessarily constrained to choose the alternative with the least impact. They are, however, required to make a statement about it and are subject to public scrutiny. Such statements are called Environmental Impact Statements. They are created when it is fairly clear that there will be significant impacts. When the implications of an action are not as clear, and Environmental Assessment (EA) may be completed. An EA is less comprehensive than an EIS, but analyzes whether an EIS must be done or not.

When preparing an EA or EIS, agencies are required to seek public input, both early in the process (called scoping) and when they have formulated the alternatives and are ready to make a decision. How does the public get involved? How can you and I make a difference?

Well, since this blog is mostly interested in parks, here is a link to the National Park Service’s site where you can find opportunities to comment on current decisions being considered. For those of you in northeast Ohio like me, here is a link to find what decisions are being made at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

If you care about parks and the environment, you have an obligation to keep up on the decisions our public employees are making, and to tell them how you feel. If you support the decisions they are making, tell them so. If you don’t support their path, tell them that too, and tell them what they ought to do and why. After all, maybe your comment will be the one that saves a precious resource that would otherwise have been lost.

So, keep tabs on what is going on in your National Park, and get outside and get to know the nature of the parks so that when the time comes to defend it, you know what you value about your parks!

 

Bird Watching in Cleveland and NE Ohio | Ohio Birding – cleveland.com

Bird Watching in Cleveland and NE Ohio | Ohio Birding – cleveland.com: “The trees appeared to be dripping with yellow-rumped warblers, whose wheezy songs echoed all around us. The most common of songbirds were accompanied by a wave of early-arriving warblers: Northern parula, prothonotary, black-throated blue, black-throated green, ovenbird, blue-winged, pine, Blackburnian, black-and-white, Tennessee, Nashville, hooded and both waterthrushes, Northern and Louisiana.”

This article may inspire a few couch potatoes to get out and explore nature. I sure hope it does. Take a look at the article, then look at our beginning birding page to get some ideas about how to find and identify our fine feathered friends.

GET OUTSIDE!

 

Ohio.com – Black bears emerging in Ohio

Ohio.com – Black bears emerging in Ohio

“In 2008, a total of 105 bear sightings occurred in 21 Ohio counties. That included 93 sightings in the 11 counties in Northeast Ohio. total of 32 sightings were verified by tracks, scat, pictures or other evidence.”

Pretty cool. Soon we will have nuisance bear problems in northeast Ohio. This is amazing. Imagine suburban Akron/Cleveland neighborhoods with bears knocking over trash cans. Its coming. I can’t wait. missing piece of our ecological system is coming back!

 

Don't Drink the Water…

Occurrence of Organic Wastewater Compounds in three tributaries to the Cuyahoga River: “a total of 12 antibiotic, 20 pharmaceutical, 41 wastewater, and 22 hydrophobic compounds were detected in water.”
This new government report on the contents of our water is disturbing to me. Not because we don’t already have a growing awareness that Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are in our natural water courses. The reason it is disturbing to me is the extensive list of chemicals listed in this report.

In spite of the fact that over the last 40 years we have made great strides in reducing bacterial loads and known toxic chemicals from our water, our streams are still cocktails of antibiotics, birth control hormones, caffeine, and dozens of other chemicals. While the EPA says there is no known human health effects of PPCPs in the environment, the fact is we don’t know. Meanwhile, fish, aquatic plants, and wildlife (people?) that eat fish are getting low level, long term doses of a whole host of chemicals.

This report is about just a few small tributaries to the Cuyahoga, but this issue is relevant everywhere people live in high numbers. How many anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria can develop in such environments? What happens to people who eat fish that take in birth control hormones from the water they live in?

The answer? We do not know. This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed by a combination of education, regulation, and better scientific research.

For more information about PPCPs, visit the EPA’s web page.

 

Northeast Ohio parks buck national trend, attendance is up

While park visitation may be down on the whole, in northeast Ohio, park attendance is up 20% in recent times.

Is it because we have better parks? More Parks? People more in tune with Nature? Bad statistics? Whatever the reason, neoNaturalist.com encourages you to continue this trend and check out Ohio Parks on neoNaturalist.com.

Read more about the trends in park visitation here:

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