• ODNR Makes Changes in Akron Area

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    COLUMBUS, OH –The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced it will transfer management of Jefferson Lake State Park to ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, and it will create Ohio’s newest State Park at Wingfoot Lake in the Akron area.
    “This move will allow us to make more green space available to more people at a lower cost to the public,” said ODNR Director Sean Logan. “These agreements improve efficiency, provide more services and open new recreational opportunities; all while preserving the quality and increasing the quantity of Ohio’s natural public lands.”
    Jefferson Lake in Jefferson County is currently managed as a state park by ODNR’s Division of Parks & Recreation. It has served the local population with land available for a variety of outdoor recreation uses. With the management change, the land will remain open to hunting, hiking, wildlife watching and fishing. Whether the facility will continue to offer other opportunities, such as bridle trails, will depend upon local involvement by user groups.
    The ODNR Division of Wildlife recently purchased a portion of Wingfoot Lake, a property owned and operated for a number of years by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. While the 371 acre lake at this property is ideal for fishing, the surrounding property is less suited as a state wildlife area due to the existing infrastructure on the upland portions of the property.
    This exchange will keep ODNR’s management costs down – as Jefferson Lake is very close to both Brush Creek and Highlandtown wildlife areas, and Wingfoot Lake is close to Quail Hollow and Portage Lakes state parks. This will reduce the amount of time that staff will be commuting between the various properties and enable more hours of staff presence at the new park.
    “We all know how important quality of life is to economic development and job creation,” Director Logan said. “Agreements like this save taxpayer money. As important, they show more Ohioans the important connection that exists between quality of life and quality of place.”
    During the coming months, details of the new operating plans by each division will be developed and the transfers should be completed and the properties operational for the 2010 season. Both properties will be open to the public, but there will be some differences in user experiences.
    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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  • PA Fish and Boat Commission Wins with Superfund Settlement

    Harrisburg, PA — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that state and federal agencies have successfully reached a $21 million settlement over environmental damages stemming from a Superfund site in Northeast Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

    “While this settlement is the largest natural resource damage settlement to date in Pennsylvania, it can never fully compensate for the environmental damage done to the aquatic resources of that area and the services that they provided,” said PFBC Executive Director Douglas Austen. “The losses occurred over decades. Our hope is that following the restoration planning process, we will be able to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources that were injured and the services, such as fishing, that were lost.”

    Austen also thanked his employees for the work they put in helping the trustees make their case. “The employees in our Division of Environmental Services deserve special praise for the work they did and the long hours they contributed in helping to establish the legal foundation for this case,” he said.

    Under the agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, five companies have agreed to pay approximately $21.4 million in cash and property to compensate for natural resource damages resulting from decades of zinc smelting operations at the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund site, located about 25 miles north of Allentown.

    CBS Operations Inc., TCI Pacific Communications Inc., CBS/Westinghouse of Pa. Inc., HH Liquidating Corp. and HRD Liquidating Corp., agreed to make a cash payment of $9.875 million and to transfer 1200 acres of valuable property, known as the Kings Manor property and valued at approximately $8.72 million, to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

    The companies’ cash payment will be deposited into the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Trust Fund. State and federal agencies will use the funds to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of natural resources impacted by the site. A restoration plan will be developed for public comment by the trustees. The trustees in this case include:

    • U.S. Department of the Interior,Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the PennsylvaniaDepartment of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

    In addition, the companies agreed to pay $2.5 million for damage assessment costs and to discharge a mortgage worth $300,000 on the Wildlife Information Center (Lehigh Gap Nature Center), a non-profit conservation and environmental education organization, located at the Lehigh Gap.

    “The funds and property recovered from this settlement will result in a cleaner, restored environment to counteract the damages that were incurred as a result of the years of harmful emissions from smelter operations,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement is a result of a cooperative effort by federal and state trustees.”

    The settlement will resolve claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Act, also known as the Superfund law, the Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, under which federal and state trustees of natural resources are authorized to seek compensation for damages to resources that are injured by releases of  hazardous substances.

    The Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site consists of a broad area impacted by emissions of contaminants from historic zinc smelting operations and more recent zinc-recovery operations at a plant site located 25 miles north of Allentown. Over 90 years of smelting operations by the former New Jersey Zinc Co., emitted hazardous materials including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc into the surrounding environment through air emissions and the release of solid wastes. Large quantities of the hazardous materials were carried by wind and deposited over surrounding areas resulting in defoliation and contamination of thousands of acres throughout the ridge and valley area of eastern Pennsylvania. The National Park Service owns and maintains approximately 800 acres of land that has been acquired to protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in this area, which winds along the Blue Mountain ridge and through the associated gaps. The Pennsylvania Game Commission also owns several thousand acres of State Game Lands on Blue Mountain.

    Hazardous materials subsequently contaminated several miles of Aquashicola Creek and the Lehigh River as a result of erosion, surface runoff, and shallow ground water contamination.

    CBS/Westinghouse of Pa. Inc., is a current owner of a portion of the Site. CBS Operations Inc., TCI Pacific Communications Inc., HH Liquidating Corp. and HRD Liquidating Corp., are successors of the zinc smelting and zinc recovery operators.

    The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 60-day comment period and final court approval. The consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

    The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

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  • Dove Hunting at Mosquito Creek, Ohio

    AKRON, OH- Dove hunting will be permitted on portions of the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge by permit only. Access to this portion of the property is restricted to permit-only hunting. The refuge is not open to the public otherwise.

    A postcard drawing will be held and 30 permits will be drawn for both the first and the second day of dove season, September 1st or 2nd 2009. A total of 15 permits will be drawn for each day. Hunters are asked to mail one postcard per person to Wildlife District Three, attn: wildlife management, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, OH 44319. The hunter’s name, address, and telephone number must be included on the entry card and entries must be received at Wildlife District Three by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 17th, 2009. A total of two (2) hunters may hunt per permit.

    Beginning September 3rd through 30th, this field will be available on a first come, first serve basis, however, hunters must obtain permits before hunting.  Permits can be picked up daily at the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area Headquarters.

    Dove hunting will be also available for youth hunters ages 17 and younger on a special youth hunting dove field located on the waterfowl refuge. Starting September 1st, self-serve applications and permits will be available at the area headquarters daily. A map of the area will be posted and a drop box for applications will be provided. One or two youths and one adult may hunt per permit. Hunters must follow all hunting rules and regulations for the season according to the 2009-2010 Ohio Hunting Digest and Early Migratory Bird Dates (publication #298).

    The Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area Headquarters is located at 8303 North Park Avenue in North Bloomfield (one mile south of State Route 87). Contact the headquarters at 440.685.4776.

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  • Ohio State Park Duck Blind Lottery Aug.15

    Duck Hunting
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    COLUMBUS, OH – More than 400 permits are available to hunters wishing to hunt ducks and geese from a blind at an Ohio State Park lake this waterfowl hunting season. Lottery drawings for the permits will be held at 17 state parks and two wildlife areas the morning of Saturday, August 15.

    Interested applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office with proof of a 2009 Ohio hunting license, state wetlands stamp endorsement in the applicant’s name and a signed 2009 or 2008 federal duck stamp. Applicants under the age of 18 are encouraged to have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the permit contract.

    Participating state parks include Portage Lakes and West Branch in northeast Ohio; East Harbor, Indian Lake, Kiser Lake and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Buck Creek, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Hueston Woods and Rocky Fork in southwest Ohio; and Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek and Delaware in central Ohio.

    Applications will be taken beginning at 7:30 a.m. at most parks, with the lottery drawings at 8 a.m. at the park office, unless otherwise noted in the listing below.

    Each hunter can apply for only one duck blind permit and no one can apply or draw for another person. There is a $50 non-refundable permit fee for the state park lottery winners. Lottery winners have 45 days to construct their blinds and all blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2010.

    Waterfowl hunting opportunities are also available through lottery drawings for blinds at the Mercer Wildlife Area on Grand Lake St. Marys, and at the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area on Mosquito Creek Reservoir, adjacent to Mosquito Lake State Park. The drawings will be held at the respective wildlife area offices on August 15. There is no fee for use of the blinds at these areas.

    The dates of the 2009 fall waterfowl hunting season have not yet been determined by the Ohio Wildlife Council, but generally fall in the later part of October. For information about hunting seasons, call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit www.ohiodnr.com online.

    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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  • Ohio Woodland Jobs Corps Announced

    New stimulus-backed program to create 132 green jobs, provide funds for college and technical education, remove invasive species and help improve the health of Ohio’s forests

    – Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Sean Logan announced today that the Ohio Division of Forestry is currently accepting applications for the first class of 132 jobs that will be available as part of the newly created Ohio Woodlands Job Corps, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    Corps members will work a total of 1,000 hours and gain work experience and woodcraft training at one of seven different state forests. Corps members will remove invasive species on state forests, learn how to fight wildfires and receive extensive training and certification.

    “This program will help improve both our forests and our economy,” said Strickland. “The stimulus dollars used to fund the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps is a wise investment that will encourage healthier forests while creating jobs in regions of our state that are severely challenged by underemployment. I would like to thank President Obama and Ohio’s Congressional leaders for helping put Ohioans to work while improving our natural resources.”

    The Ohio Woodlands Job Corps is scheduled to start eleven, six-person crews working and training at seven separate state forests beginning September 14.  The headquarters for these crews include: Blue Rock (Muskingum County), Hocking (Hocking County), Maumee (Fulton, Henry and Lucas Counties), Pike (Highland and Pike Counties), Scioto Trail (Ross and Pike Counties), Shawnee (Adams and Scioto Counties) and Zaleski (Athens and Vinton Counties) State Forests.

    “While employment of Ohioans is a crucial component of this program, the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps also provides a unique educational opportunity that draws on the expertise of state forestry staff, the Ohio Forest Industry, OSU Extension and Hocking College,” said Logan. “This program will provide valuable training and real world learning experience for corps members interested in making a career in Ohio’s $15 billion wood industry, which directly employs 119,000 people.”

    Both The Ohio State University and Hocking College are partners in the training component of this program. Four of the 25 total weeks of employment for corps members will be spent training in how to fight wildfires, safely and properly use chainsaws, identify invasive and native tree species, and on logging best management practices.

    On a forest resource level, participants will spend a majority of their time removing woody invasive plant species from state forestlands. The presence of these exotic invasive plants, such as bush honeysuckle and Tree of Heaven, suppresses native understory species and is detrimental to healthy woodlands. In addition to removing invasive species, the crews will also assist with forest inventory work, timber stand improvement activities, trails maintenance and tree planting activities.

    As an affiliate of Americorps through The Corps Network, corps members will be eligible to receive up to $2,300 towards their college education.

    To apply for jobs through the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps visit ohiodnr.com/forestry or ohiomeansjobs.com. The deadline is August 9.

    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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