Natural Resources – Wagdy Ghoneim Sun, 19 Sep 2021 11:17:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Natural Resources – Wagdy Ghoneim 32 32 It’s Leaf Peeping Season in Pennsylvania Sun, 19 Sep 2021 11:00:00 +0000

Pennsylvania is a destination of choice for people who travel to take pictures of the fall foliage which are also known as “leaf peeers”.

The Commonwealth is among the best places in the world to see brilliant fall colors, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

People across the region can find out where the best colors are through DCNR’S fall foliage maps online.

Ryan Reed is a Natural Resources Program Specialist with DCNR Forestry office. He said social media has contributed to the trend of “leaf peeping,” which is a boon to the state’s economy.

“You have these people celebrating pumpkin spice and all that. As someone who cares deeply about the forest, we certainly want to take full advantage of it, ”said Reed. “People come from all over to come and see our fall foliage. I don’t think you can go anywhere else and see a better show.

He explained why the forests of Pennsylvania have such vibrant fall displays.

“Pennsylvania is right at the crossroads of the southern and northern forests, so we have the best of both worlds here,” Reed said. “We have two very strong dominant forest types. We have northern deciduous and hickory oak forests.

Reed said the leaves in the northern state layer will take on those red, orange and yellow hues first. Residents of Lehigh Valley can expect an explosion of color by mid-October.

“It’s not just the colors,” Reed said, “The process of rotting or rotting leaves produces a sweet odor, so it’s a great time of year to observe the fall foliage.

Reed says some of the area’s best displays are in Beltzville, Jacobsbourg, Hickory race, Tuscarora, Lehigh Gorge, Nockamixon, Great Pocono, Nescopeck, and Grasshopper lake state parks.

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Asian insect known to kill native plants found in Indiana – NBC Chicago Sun, 19 Sep 2021 01:12:21 +0000

Earlier this summer, a photograph of a spotted lantern taken in southern Indiana sparked a huge effort to eradicate the insect that is on the federally regulated list of invasive species.

The photo of Vevay’s man was the first sighting of a spotted lantern in Indiana and was the most westerly of the Asian insect.

People from the state Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology and the United States Department of Agriculture visited the Switzerland County site to determine the extent of the infestation. A number of insects were found in a nearby woodland and they were all destroyed.

Efforts to understand how spotted lanterns found their way to the Indiana woodland continue, according to Megan Abraham, director of the Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

“We suspect someone brought it accidentally,” she said. “They usually swarm around this time of year and lay their eggs.”

The eggs look like a patch of mud spread over a tree, pole, or metal part of a railroad car, which is one of the ways the insect has spread throughout the United States since then. its discovery in Pennsylvania in 2014.

The Indiana location was nowhere near a railroad line. Often, adult spotted lanterns will feed on trees that overlook rail yards, and when full, they drop leaves to land on the nearest vertical surface. If they land on railroad cars, this is where they lay their eggs, which are then transported across the country, spreading an insect known to kill vines, fruit trees and other crops and agricultural trees.

“He’s following the train line,” Abraham said of the bug. “They’re leaving over here. “

The spotted lantern prefers the Tree of Heaven, an invasive Asian tree species found in Indiana and most other states. But the bugs don’t do much damage to these trees, so they survive and the lanterns move on to native trees and other plants that they kill.

When the lanterns gather on the vines, it changes the pH of the grapes so that they are no longer viable for making wine, Abraham said. Insects often congregate to feed on plant sap. As they feed, they excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which falls to the ground and is a breeding ground for sooty mold. This mold can kill trees and other plants, Abraham said.

This September 19, 2019 photo shows a spotted lantern fly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Teams using backpack sprayers and truck-mounted spray equipment spray the insects along railroad tracks, highways and other transportation rights-of-way, the state’s Agriculture Department said earlier this year. . Spotted lanterns have also been spotted this summer in southern Indiana, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is urging Hoosiers to report any sightings.

Wine growers and farmers are alarmed every time a spotted lantern fly is seen in their area. Since the insect does not have a natural predator in the United States, there is concern that it could become a serious agricultural pest across the country.

The spotted lantern has previously been found on the eastern edge of Ohio, near West Virginia, Abraham said.

She is hoping that the spotted lantern has not yet made its way to any other part of Indiana and that all of Switzerland County have been eradicated.

“The best part of the story is that we wouldn’t know anything about this discovery without him looking at this walnut tree and then sending us a photo,” Abraham said of Vevay’s man. “We ended up confirming that it was in his area and that we can do something before it spreads.”

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is asking anyone who sees a spotted lantern to contact them at 866-NO EXOTIC (866-663-9684) or email

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UAPB program promoting land Sat, 18 Sep 2021 08:23:30 +0000

After his 44-year career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Charley Williams, a soil conservation veteran and alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, shows no signs of slowing down in his career.

He continues to serve small-scale and underserved farmers in Arkansas, introducing them to US Department of Agriculture programs that improve their lands.

Most recently, Williams worked with the UAPB Smallholder Farming Program to facilitate the program awareness project. The project funded by the conservation service aims to raise awareness among women, veterans, producers who are socially disadvantaged and with limited resources.

The aim is to sensitize target groups to service conservation practices and funding possibilities for the environmental quality incentive program.


As he travels across the state, visits landowners unfamiliar with the incentive program, and discusses with them how they could improve their operations, he always clarifies one point.

“I tell them, ‘I didn’t come out of retirement to steal your land,'” he said. “I am here to help you help your land, so the earth can help you in return. “

Williams said distrust of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs is still an issue among minority and resource-constrained producers. And some growers think the incentive program and other programs offered through the US Farm Bill are “free programs.”

“But that’s not the case,” he said. “I tell producers that these programs are funded through their own taxes. Since they have already contributed to these programs, why not take advantage of them? I remind them that this is a partnership – the USDA wants to partner with you to keep your land productive. “

Coordinating the outreach project to the program, Williams is working with two other members of the project, who also happen to be retirees – Joe Friend, current UAPB forester who was previously a district forester with the Arkansas Forestry Commission in Monticello, and Levell Foote, Natural Resource Conservation Retiree. Curator of the service district.

There are a few major benefits of working as a retiree group, according to Williams.

“On the one hand, we know how to talk to farmers, especially when it comes to issues like doubts about programs or setting targets for their land,” he said. “We have professional expertise and can offer them advice when planning the development of their land. And the fact that we still have relationships with USDA agencies helps ensure that these farmers are approved to implement practices that will make their lands more sustainable and profitable. ”

The team conducts site visits to get a feel for the condition and condition of the land, as well as to learn about the challenges owners face and their current goals. They are often joined by the Arkansas County Forestry Department of Forestry or the District Curator of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


“Agency representatives are not always able to come with us to sites on their schedule,” said Williams. “So we are a resource for these agencies. We are basically additional aid workers who want to connect the Arkansans to the programs they offer. “

After the site visits, program members link landowners with the Farm Service Agency so they can get an official farm number, Williams said.

“This is an essential step,” he said. “Once you receive your farm number, you are then eligible for EQIP funds so that you can install recommended conservation practices.”

Program participants receive a Conservation Practices Identification Tool form that identifies conservation practices suitable for their operation after each site visit. Examples of conservation practices include planting timber, improving irrigation efficiency, improving land for wildlife, promoting soil health, preventing erosion and restoring pastures.

Williams said his team had helped gain approval from 10 landowners for the conservation practices of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program over the past year. The fastest applicants approved for incentive program funding are veterans, low-income and historically underserved producers.

“In many ways, this program is an extension of UAPB’s Keeping it in the Family Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention program,” he said. “SFLR’s overarching goal is to overcome historic barriers to African American forestry success and to help landowners conserve their family lands.”

UAPB’s Keeping it in the Family program is part of the African American Land Conservation and Sustainable Forestry Program Network. Launched by the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service in 2012, the program helps landowners resolve issues of ownership and retention of heir lands and understand the value of ” responsible management of forest lands.

“We are so proud to be operating on demand right now,” said Williams. “We want to help as many Arkansas landowners as possible conserve their family lands and will work with them to connect them with the resources needed to make the land more sustainable and profitable.”

For more information on the program outreach project or to request a site visit, contact the UAPB Smallholder Farming Program at (870) 575-7225 or

Will Hehemann is a writer / editor at the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Humanities at UAPB.

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Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Multi-State Dog Fighting and Drug Trafficking Investigation | Takeover bid Fri, 17 Sep 2021 19:21:25 +0000

A well-known fighting dog trainer and breeder has pleaded guilty to a federal animal fighting charge following an ongoing investigation into a major dog fighting and drug trafficking ring in several states.

Vernon Vegas, 49, of Suwanee, Ga., Pleaded guilty to conspiring to participate in an animal fighting business on September 14. According to court documents, law enforcement investigated a criminal organization involved in both distributing cocaine and organizing dog fights based in Roberta. , Georgia, which spread to North Georgia, Florida and Alabama from May 2019 to February 2020. In February 2020, law enforcement executed 15 residential search warrants and seized more than 150 dogs which were used for organized dog fights.

“This case illustrates the link between the underground drug world, organized crime and dog fighting,” said Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Vernon Vegas took advantage of the pain of these dogs and will be rightly held responsible.”

“Vernon Vegas was the trainer of the trainers – he taught individuals the bloody and brutal trade of dog fighting and worked to make sure he thrived,” Acting US District Attorney Peter D. Leary said for the district. central Georgia. “Dog fighting businesses attract a multitude of dangerous criminal activity. Our office and law enforcement will not tolerate animal fighting or the crimes around them; we will seek federal prosecution when warranted.

Between October 1996 and February 2020, Vegas, the owner of Cane Valley Kennels, bred, trained, sold and transported dogs as part of dog fights. As part of his business, Vegas designed and delivered a seven-week “sitter” where he trained dogs for animal fighting companies, prepared online pedigrees for fighting dogs bred and trained in Cane Valley. Kennels, provided advice to his co-conspirators. on how to train dogs for the purpose of engaging in animal fighting businesses, and has retained a plethora of training and conditioning equipment, including slat grinders, chains, a stapler, hanging scales, breaking sticks, drag sticks and various drugs to treat injuries or illnesses sustained by dogs made to fight. Between January 2017 and February 2020, Vegas attended dogfights with co-conspirators Derrick Owens and Christopher Raines at locations in the Middle District of Georgia and advised Owens on various matters related to preparing dogs for dogfights. ‘animals.

Vegas faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $ 250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for December 7.

The case was investigated by the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General (USDA- OIG), US Marshals Service, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Merriweather County Sheriff’s Office, Office from the Peach County Sheriff, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Webster County Sheriff’s Office, Byron Police Department, and Fort Valley Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Georgia and Attorney General Banu Rangarajan of the ENRD Environmental Crimes Section are continuing the case.

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Missouri Department of Natural Resources Still Investigating Cause of Wilson’s Creek Contamination Fri, 17 Sep 2021 02:21:00 +0000

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) – A local waterway is still polluted after more than two decades, and researchers are trying to understand why.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says it’s not sure it’s all tied to a single problem. Contamination of Wilson Creek dates back to at least 1998. At that time, it was on a list of “degraded waters”.

“It was placed on the list for an unknown cause of toxicity to aquatic life,” said Robert Voss, environmental supervisor for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The EPA has done all kinds of testing at Wilson’s Creek over the years.

“They found high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also known as PAHs,” Voss said.

PAHs are types of chemicals found naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. There is a great variety.

“There are at least 34, there are a lot more that break down, but there are different compounds that make up PAHs,” Voss said. “And through our research, we’ve found that if you don’t have the full list, or at least a big list of all of the different levels of these compounds, we don’t know the true toxicity of these compounds to the community. “

For some time, the EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources believed that this type of chemical could be the source of the pollution. But now researchers aren’t so sure that’s the case.

“The aquatic community is still weakened, but we’re not 100% sure that PAHs are the sole or even a primary cause of the impaired community,” Voss said.

While Voss said Wilson’s Creek is still listed as a degraded waterway, it has since been removed from the PAH list. He said that waterways can often have a very wide variety of contamination.

“With a lot of urban streams, there can be a lot of different pollutants that can cause problems in the streams,” Voss said. “It could start with too much rainwater flow. There could be a lot of different things in the water that could cause a low diversity of aquatic life. “

Without being able to directly link the source, the City of Springfield aided the efforts. Runoff water often flows into the stream.

“We have staff who do a great job of reducing the pollutant load of runoff,” said Errin Kemper, director of environmental services for the City of Springfield. “A lot of this is targeted at education and awareness. Work with homeowners and citizens to understand what they can do to prevent pollution.

Kemper said the city and its partners are trying to find new and affordable ways to keep waterways clean like green infrastructure.

“It’s about putting in place a city-wide infrastructure that has a water quality benefit in addition to the other benefits it can offer,” he said. “And so it might look like a stormwater retention for flood control that can also be used for water quality purposes. It could also improve aesthetics in neighborhoods.

The Natural Resources Department says more tests must be done before the cause of the pollution can be determined.

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Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.

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MNR to reopen eastern Washington lands as extreme wildfire danger diminishes Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:55:32 +0000

As improved weather signals the end of peak forest fire conditions, MNR resources and strategic response are essential to weather the difficult season.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reopening its land east of the Cascades to public access effective Thursday, September 16, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced yesterday morning during a visit to Outdoor Research in Seattle. Franz also spoke of the improved weather outlook, which signals the end of peak forest fire conditions after a particularly difficult forest fire season.

The eight-week shutdown was enacted on July 23 amid historic conditions of heat and drought, extreme wildfire danger and a series of large fires in the West that have depleted local resources. forest fires. The months of January through April of this year ranked among the driest 10 percent since 1894 for the eastern parts of the state, which left fuels dry and resulted in a new record of over 220 fires in April.

At the time of closure, the number of fire ignitions in the state was about double the 10-year average.

Since the shutdown eight weeks ago, conditions have improved thanks to the tireless efforts of firefighters, an expanded air fleet, and a tactical focus on the initial attack, allowing MNR to respond quickly to the fires and prevent them from spreading. Over 98 percent of MNR fires were started in the initial attack this fire season, and over 93 percent of MNR fires were stopped at 10 acres or less, which is better than average over 10 years by six percentage points.

“After months of going from fire to fire, we are optimistic and have reached a milestone,” said Franz, the elected official who oversees the DNR. “Our ability to reopen public lands in eastern Washington is a testament to the trust and teamwork between firefighters and the public. I am extremely grateful to everyone who complied with this closure for sharing the sacrifice necessary to prevent wildfires.

“Together, we have succeeded in turning a moment of crisis into a common call to action and averting a tragedy this summer.”

To date, Washington has faced about 1,750 statewide fires this year, which have burned more than 650,000 acres, significantly fewer than last year.

A variety of factors played into the decision to reopen lands managed by MNR, including ratings for industrial fire precautionary levels, national and local preparedness levels, moisture from fine and heavy fuels, and 10-day weather forecasts and rain totals across the state.

“We are delighted to reopen state lands for hunters and other recreationists,” said Laurie Benson, Acting Director of the Conservation, Recreation and Transactions division at MNR. “We ask all who come out to enjoy these lands to continue to be safe and responsible. “

The reopening of lands managed by the MNR does not affect the current statewide burning ban, which currently expires on September 30. The burning ban, enacted on July 1, remains in effect as more than three-quarters of Washington state remains in drought conditions.

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Eastern Washington Department of Natural Resources public lands reopened Wed, 15 Sep 2021 21:59:09 +0000

Washington Land Commissioner Hilary Franz on Wednesday reopened to the public all of the Department of Natural Resources’ public lands east of the waterfalls.

“I’m so excited,” Franz said. “I wish there was a ribbon cut where we could actually open up millions of acres of crown land in Washington state, especially right before the hunting season, mountain bikers, hikers and all our greats. spaces both men and women can adopt them and I’m super excited.

The grounds were closed due to the extreme danger of fire.

Despite his elation, Franz said public lands were still dry and reminded the public that a burning ban remains in place.

She says there were 1,750 fires on state land this summer, covering 650,000 acres. She says aggressive firefighting tactics meant that many of these fires were controlled without having to call on additional resources:

“98% of the DNR fires were caught in an initial attack this fire season,” she said. The fires were stopped within a ten-acre radius.

Franz credits the increased use of planes to help bring these fires under control quickly. She says a finance bill passed by the legislature last spring will mean more firefighting resources as well as increased attention to making forests more resilient.

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Letter to the Editor: Chaffee Rec Plan strives to preserve our region’s natural resources – by community contributor Sat, 11 Sep 2021 21:55:07 +0000

Mr. Editor,

I believe we are fortunate to live in such a wonderful place. Many of us who live in such a wonderful place feel obligated to guide growth in ways that protect the very reasons, including our natural resources, for which we have settled here.

I have been involved with Envision Chaffee County from the start – with pride. Envision Chaffee County has continually emphasized transparency and inclusion in all of our discussions. I welcome dissenting opinions and look forward to having the opportunity to discuss any concerns anyone may have regarding the Chaffee Recreation Plan, offered by Envision Chaffee County. It is the open discussion about the plan that ensures that everyone’s contribution is recognized and also ensures that the plan is the best it can be.

Like many others, I moved to central Colorado for a multitude of reasons. One of our main reasons is the abundance of natural resources, including wildlife. Having lived in central Colorado for over a decade now, it is evident that development and visitation is on the rise, while wildlife has become increasingly scarce in many areas that they have regularly frequented in the past. To assume that there is no correlation between these trends seems irresponsible at best.

Dr Rob Ramey has his own opinions on how we should manage our natural resources here in Chaffee County. Ramey selects facts to support his arguments – at one point, recognizing that hunters have an impact on wildlife behavior; while also asserting that other human activities (including helicopter flights near raptor nests) have not been shown to have adverse effects on wildlife populations.

Ramey also conveniently ignores that Envision Chaffee County has gone out of its way to collect facts from multiple sources – including our wildlife and natural resources agencies, and several resident surveys – to come up with fact-based projects. . In fact, the Chaffee Rec plan includes provisions to monitor and refine these projects, based on concrete results, as they are implemented.

It is very sad, and indeed incomprehensible to me, that anyone who opposes Envision Chaffee County, or local residents, providing information on how our national resources should be managed. Our agencies actually include local input as part of their decision-making process. We have the right – almost the responsibility – to ensure that our natural resources are managed sustainably today and for future generations.

While I don’t expect all of us to agree on everything, I believe we can all agree that we live in a special place, and it makes sense that we work to keep the reasons why we are there. love our region for ourselves and for the future. generations. It would be wonderful if we could work together towards these laudable goals.

Chuck azzopardi


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Montana to Update State Drought Management Plan | 406 Politics Wed, 08 Sep 2021 23:15:00 +0000

Kurth noted that it will be important to understand past and present data and future trends, especially with “the uncertainty of weather conditions” to assess where the state is vulnerable and identify potential strategies.

“As we all know, drought permeates all aspects of our lives,” Kurth told the committee. “Drought has many direct and indirect effects. It affects our economy, our environment, our health, all different things and on all different scales. So it’s really essential that we proactively think about implementing policies and programs that can help reduce or mitigate the impacts of these future droughts, and what I’m actually talking about is building resilience. statewide drought through this planning effort. “

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Officials hope that the state’s update of its drought management plan will also catalyze local planning efforts, and the planning effort includes public participation and input.

Governor Greg Gianforte touted the importance of the plan in a statement announcing the update on Wednesday.

“With every region of Montana facing severe to extreme drought conditions, now is the time to plan for the future and increase our statewide preparedness,” he said. “Drought affects everyone, from fishermen to foresters to agricultural producers. “

Drought across Montana and the west defined much of summer with continued impacts expected through fall. A number of streams and rivers recorded record flows, fishing restrictions were put in place on many streams, and smoke from forest fires filled the skies. During this time, agriculture has suffered heavy impacts in terms of crop productivity and livestock feed.

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SC Wildlife Scientists and Zoo Team Up to Save Waffle Frogs | State and regional news Sat, 04 Sep 2021 17:47:05 +0000

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – Wildlife scientists and the Riverbanks Zoo are teaming up to save South Carolina’s endangered waffle frogs.

The survival rate of frog eggs and tadpoles is extremely low, so the Department of Natural Resources finds the eggs in the wetlands of the Lowcountry and the zoo keeps them in captivity.

“It’s about how best to use our strengths for species conservation,” Natural Resources herpetologist Andrew Grosse said in a statement.

Wildlife scientists are also working to restore the habitat of waffle frogs, so eggs and tadpoles have a better chance of survival when they return to the wild, Grosse said.

Frogs live in longleaf pines and are a good indicator of the health of this environmental system.

“They have a very complex life cycle and highly specialized habitat requirements,” said Grosse. “All the pieces need to be in place and functioning at a high level to support these fragile populations. “

Several hundred frogs have been saved thanks to the South Carolina program and similar efforts in North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, officials said.

The project attempts to keep frogs off the federal endangered species list. Scientists call it “Head Start” because it gives frogs a head start to survive.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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