Oct. 9: ‘It used to snow so much more (less) back then’

picture of man in deep snowCentral Michigan University’s Daria Kluver presents “Exploring Snowfall in the United States,” a free online webinar, from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 9. Based on 70-plus years of data, she’ll show how snowfall trends in the U.S., including in the Great Lakes area, have changed over time. She’ll also give a sneak peek at a new website for exploring snowfall data. She speaks as part of the webinar series by Ohio State’s Climate Change Outreach Team. Get details and register here. (Photo: NOAA via Wikimedia Commons.)

In case you missed it; or, here comes the sun rather soon-ish

picture of solar panel and sunWithin just the next three years, by 2017, more than half the U.S. states, including Ohio, could have rooftop solar energy that’s as cheap as conventional power from the grid. So says a recent estimate by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Reason: The plummeting costs of solar panels and installation. Check out the map.

Thursday afternoon water music

Because we’re talking a lot about water these days. Because of the Cavs’ new power forward (Cavs!). And also just because. (Sorry, cuts off early.)

Most cost-effective way to cut runoff? CFAES study’s answer may surprise you

image of tax and moneyAn economic solution could be the most cost-effective way to reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie, says an analysis by CFAES’s Brent Sohngen. Imposing a 25 percent tax on phosphorus fertilizer could cut soluble phosphorus in northwest Ohio watersheds by about 8 percent, he said. “I don’t want to suggest that a tax on phosphorus could solve everything,” he said. “There’s no silver bullet, and the issues are complex.” Read the story. To control harmful algal blooms, the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force has recommended an overall 40 percent cut in phosphorus runoff into the lake. (Photo: iStock.)

CFAES study: What farmers are willing to do, and why, to help keep water clean

picture of farm and clean waterMost farmers in northwest Ohio’s Maumee River watershed are willing to take at least one additional action to reduce nutrient losses (such as of phosphorus) from their farms into water, provided they think the action will help the water as well as their farms. So says new research by CFAES’s Robyn Wilson. Read the story. The Maumee watershed is Lake Erie’s largest tributary. In recent years the lake has been plagued by phosphorus-fed harmful algal blooms.

Watch: Teaming to help restore rivers

John Navarro talks about CFAES research on the benefits of removing old dams in a new YouTube video (2:17). Navarro is a program administrator with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife and is a sponsor of the study. Read a previous post on the work here.

In Columbus, ‘Creating an urban food oasis’

weinland park food districtOhio State’s Randy Gammage looks at the planned new Weinland Park Food District in Columbus in a recent issue of onCampus, the university’s faculty-staff newspaper. Specialists from CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, are collaborators in the project, which aims to ramp up urban farming in the neighborhood, and with it, even further economic growth. (Image: Artist’s rendering from onCampus.)

‘The mineral that could help balance others’

In a story in yesterday’s Farm and Dairy, Chris Kick talks to CFAES’s Warren Dick, among others, about gypsum’s benefits to soils, crops and water.

New tool in toolbox for safeguarding water

CFAES’s Warren Dick is two years into a three-year study of gypsum’s benefits on farms, including to soil quality, crop yields and reducing phosphorus runoff.

So far, he says, fields in his study treated with gypsum are seeing an average 55-percent reduction in soluble phosphorus runoff, based on tests of water samples collected from the fields’ drainage tiles.

He says:

“There’s no one technology that’s going to solve the issue of phosphorus runoff. But I think gypsum is going to become one of the tools in the toolbox, something farmers will use with other approaches as part of their total management package.”

Read the story …

How to grow great pumpkins; or, just wait and see, Charlie Brown

picture of pumpkins in fieldCFAES’s 2014 Pumpkin Field Night rises out of the pumpkin patch on Oct. 9 at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon. Featured will be ways to keep pumpkin patches sustainable, such as drip irrigation and screening for powdery mildew resistance. Check local press release for details.