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Interchange – Claims on the Forest

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Host Doug Storm is joined by Myke Luurtsema, the Hoosier Forest Watch Coordinator for the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA), and Ron Kerner, a mushroom expert who runs the website Indiana Mushrooms.

This is Part II of our discussion about commercial logging and forest health in the Indiana state forests. Part I was a conversation that took place on September 9th with the Director of the Division of Forestry, John Seifert.

The discussion centers on the assertion that the Forestry Division treats the forest as a kind of agricultural crop and chooses to implement methods that value the tree by its harvest value (silviculture). We also discuss the ways that clear cutting or “regenerative openings” disturb habitat and disrupt ecosystem health. One feature of this is the vital symbiotic role that healthy fungi play in the growth of forests. A final topic is the IFA’s campaign to create State Wild Areas in our state forests.

Where John Seifert makes claims for the benefit of introducing sunlight to enhance diversity (through “regenerative openings”)–”sunlight drives the system”–Luurtsema claims “sunlight drives the crop tree while mortality drives the ecosystem.”

Credits:
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Alycin Bektesh

Shallow lake fish affected by heavy ice and snow

As Spring approaches, owners of shallow ponds and lakes will have to watch out for fish kills due to the accumulation of snow and ice this winter. The lakes and ponds of Indiana are currently covered in up to twenty inches of thick ice. Neil Ledet, District Fisheries Biologist in northeastern Indiana, says this is a result of the long winter.

“This is a pretty unusual winter for us,” Ledet says, “We had early ice, a lot of snow, and with that ice thickness, there isn’t a lot of light penetration to get to the aquatic plants. We’ll see low oxygen levels in lakes and ponds. It could be a tough situation for shallow lakes and ponds”

Shoveling up snow will allow light to penetrate the ice, but Ledet says that once this becomes an issue there’s not much anyone can do about it. He explains what pond and lake owners CAN do if the same thing happens next winter.

“In the future, lake owners could make sure there aren’t a lot of weeds covering the lake before the winter comes,” Ledet says, “The important thing is that if people lose all of their pond, they’re going to want to start over with an appropriate pond stocking program. We have a pond management booklet to help that.”

Ledet says that fish kills occurred more often during the 1970’s and 80’s, when winters were a little more severe. If Lake residents and anglers discover fish kills on public waters they can contact their district fisheries biologist online at wildlife.in.gov.

ERAC Looking To Fill Natural Resource Management Positions

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is looking for individuals to fill two Special Member seats to serve two-year terms on the Environmental Resources Advisory Council, or ERAC.

The ERAC acts in an advisory capacity to the Board of Park Commissioners, on policy matters pertaining to the operation of city-managed natural areas or facilities.

To fill these positions, the ERAC specifically needs people who have expertise in the field of outdoor recreation and environmental education programs, and people who have expertise in natural resources management. Special member applicants must reside or own property in Monroe County. More information about the positions is available online, at Bloomington.in.gov/parks

Real Christmas Trees Growing in Popularity in American Homes

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Real Christmas trees are making a comeback this year, according to a specialist at Purdue University. Daniel Cassens, professor at the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, says more than one billion dollars will be spent in the United States this year bringing real Christmas trees into the house. He says the environmental impact of real trees versus that of fake trees has become something of a debate in recent years. A Christmas tree farmer himself, Cassens says there are benefits to avoiding the more convenient, artificial trees.

“It’s a difficult thing to measure because there are so many variables involved,” Cassens says, “If you look at a real tree, you see it takes in carbon dioxide and keeps it in the ground. Depending on how the tree is disposed of, the rest of the carbon is released in the atmosphere and can be

Cassens says artificial Christmas trees are petroleum-based products, which release carbon stored in the ground, becoming directly harmful to the environment. Shipping artificial trees to the United States creates another source of impact.

“About all the artificial trees are manufactured overseas,” Cassens says, “Real trees grown here create local jobs and contribute to the local economy. Fake trees, as they’re shipped, also takes energy and pollutes the environment.”

Proponents of the artificial Christmas tree industry point out that its product can be reused, saving real trees from being cut down, and that artificial trees of course do not need fertilizers or pesticides. If you’ve decided you want a real tree in your house this year, Cassens says there are a few things to keep in mind.

“If you’re a first time real-tree-buyer, you want to be careful not to get too big a tree, “Cassen says, “Stay within the five to six feet category, at the most nine feet. They are more manageable and the bigger the tree, the more difficult to handle. Also, make sure to have a high-quality

When the holidays are over, Cassens says, there are also options to consider when getting rid of a real tree.

“One option, that is the most simple, is to take the tree and put it in your backyard until spring,” Cassen says, “Most towns also have recycling centers that turn real Christmas trees into mulch.”

For more information on real Christmas trees, or how to find a choose-and-cut tree farm in your area, you can visit the National Christmas Tree Growers Association online at RealChristmastrees.org.

 

 

DNR Hosts Ice Safety Talk on Facebook

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Facebook followers of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will have the chance to talk about ice safety with Lieutenant William Browne, of DNR Law Enforcement, this Friday on the DNR Facebook page. Dawn Krause, of the DNR Division of Communications, says these talks have been going on for two years, and serve as a link between the department and the public on topics of which some people are unaware.

“It’s a way to also get information out there to people that are unaware of all the different areas the DNR covers,” Krause says, “I find a lot of people that get on with these talks are impressed because they never knew what we covered.”

Krause says the new talk on ice safety should serve as a learning experience for anyone interested in enjoying themselves this holiday season.

“Every year, people want to get out on the ice, and every year people are killed because the ice isn’t actually thick enough or they aren’t aware of how thick the ice should be,” Krause says, “This is a way to re-educate people every year so that they are aware of what kind of ice they should get out on to have a safe experience.”

This will be the last online DNR talk for the year, and Krause says some very popular topics came up in 2013.

“Deer-hunting was popular online,” Krause says.

The talk on ice safety is scheduled to take place from 2 to 3 pm this Friday, December 20th, on the DNR Facebook page. Anyone with a Facebook account can begin sending questions during that time.

Daily Local News – December 16, 2013

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At the December meeting of the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees, Jim Witmer was approved as the inaugural School Resources Officer for the district; Facebook followers of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will have the chance to talk about ice safety with Lieutenant William Browne, of DNR Law Enforcement, this Friday; Last week the Bloomington Plan Commission heard a request to build a four-story building alongside the downtown B-Line Trail, to include thirty-five high-end apartments and condos; Governor Mike Pence announced today that he has appointed Indiana District 78 Representative Suzanne Crouch as Auditor of State for Indiana.

FEATURES
“No Justice For Ian Stark”: Rally Decries Lack of Shelter
Last week, a man named Ian Stark was found dead at the Colonial Crest Apartment complex on the north side of Bloomington. Stark was reportedly homeless and police say he might have died from exposure to the cold weather. In response, a group gathered Friday night on the Courthouse Square to bring attention to Stark’s death and to the continuing issues with lack of shelter in Bloomington. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE
Eva Marsh, the first youth volunteer for the Bloomington Pride Film Festival, discusses the upcoming festival and talks about how to get involved, on Activate! our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Chris Martin and Alycin Bektesh, along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker, our engineer is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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