WKSU News: New park in Portage County receives official dedication

Here is a short news blurb (WKSU News:New park in Portage County receives official dedication) with some audio clips from WKSU about the dedication of the new Burton D and Margaret Clark Morgan Preserve in Portage County. The new park is the largest for Portage Park District and was created through a wide-ranging partnership with some 20 organizations and individuals.

These land protection deals are good for the environment. They are also critical for a community trying to keep taxes under control. The land in this story was once slated for 1,800A singleA family homes. The property taxes generated by those homes would have partially offset added snow plowing, police, fire and other community services. Partially. Add to those services the fact that a development of this scale would have very likely created the need for expanded schools in the area and development of this property would have caused drastic increases in property taxes.

Instead, there is a new park that will protect groundwater resources, collect and filter stormwater, and will provide recreational opportunities for future generations. Everyone wins.


Upcoming Class- Living Rivers!

Living Rivers–Arteries of the Eastern Forest, August 16-21, 2009

A five day field course in aquatic ecology & the global significance of the Eastern Forest led by five outstanding field biologists; held at the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System in southern Ohio. David Johnson Microbiologist from Ohio Wesleyan; Greg Lipps, herpetologist; Roger F. Thoma, Eastern US crayfish expert; Mark Kibbey, Curator of Fishes, OSU Museum of Biodiversity; and G. Thomas Watters, freshwater mussels expert, Research Associate, OSU Museum of Biodiversity.

This course will further participants’ appreciation of the Eastern forest by studying its lifeblood — its rivers and streams, and the myriads of life forms that watersheds support. Experts in the fields of botany, mussels, crayfish, fish and salamanders will be leading this course – giving participants a global, cross-disciplinary foundation of knowledge. America’s Eastern Forest shares many tree and mammal genera with closely-related forest centers located in Europe and Eastern Asia. However, our native forest has one major feature that, when compared to its sister forests, distinguishes it globally. Quite simply, America’s Eastern temperate forest claims the highest aquatic life diversity in the temperate world.

Conservation challenges now make waterways one of the most imperiled of the forest’s components throughout the temperate world, so it behooves Eastern US citizens to gain knowledge quickly in this important realm. This course is suitable for any person interested in living systems, regardless of formal educational background and vocation. Limited to 16 participants. For full information: http://www.highlandssanctuary.org/WE/Waterways/waterways.htm


Symbolic river may be removed from polluted river list

Ohio.com – Groups working to get Cuyahoga River off pollution list: “The once-dead and still-symbolic Cuyahoga River might be removed from an international list of polluted Great Lakes hot spots.”

The burning river that spurred on the environmental movement is clean enough in some places to be removed from the list of polluted rivers. Where once no fish could live, now dozens of species of fish thrive.

The Clean Water Act calls for swimable, fishable water. The Cuyahoga River is to the point where it is fishable. Continued problems with combined sewer outflows on the middle and lower Cuyahoga keep it from being considered swimable, and canoeing is not recommended, but this is real progress. I have canoed the lower Cuyahoga and it is a wonderful, peaceful, wild experience. I can’t wait until the day the bacteria levels from combined sewers and other sources are low enough that someone decides to open a canoe livery.

What a wonderful success story that is coming together.


Feds sue Akron to enforce Clean Water Act and to stop city from polluting Cuyahoga River – Metro – cleveland.com

Feds sue Akron to enforce Clean Water Act and to stop city from polluting Cuyahoga River – Metro – cleveland.com: “Akron, and other cities like Cleveland and Columbus, have older sewer systems in which raw sewage sometimes runs into storm sewer pipes and directly into waterways, including rivers and lakes, and may cause health problems for animals and humans.”

It is about time that this happened. Akron extends its sewer lines and stimulates more development, but fails to take care of its existing mess. The EPA should have enforced years ago.

Now, the problem will be paying for this. Maybe the feds can fork over the money to fix the problem? At an estimated $1 billion, it would only cost the same as about 3 days of our expenses in Iraq. Ain’t clean water worth that?


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.