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Kent Environmental Council
In This Issue
KEC to Tour Kent Police Station
Kent Parks and Recreation Department Nature Program for Preschoolers
Horizontal Fracking: What It Is and How It Can Affect You
Eagles Flying High in Ohio
Lake Erie Bacteria and Algae Spur Beach Advisoriess
Bog Tour and Boardwalk Dedication Set for Saturday, October 13
Dues Renewal Reminder
Quick Links

Featured Article

 Kent Safety Building  

KEC to Tour Kent Police Station
Welcome to the September 2012 issue of the Kent Environmental Council newsletter.  
 KEC to Tour Kent Police Station
Kent Safety Building
Kent Police Station

You are invited to tour the existing Kent Safety Building (319 S. Water Street) with Chef Michelle Lee on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. See why the building is in dire need of repairs and is past its useful life span. A facility study in 2010 identified needs and options. The original building was constructed in 1924. Various additions have been made since then, and ongoing repairs are needed.


The request to increase Kent's income tax by .25 percent for capital improvements will be on the November ballot as Issue 11. Funds would be used to construct a new, more efficient safety building.

Police services and expectations in this city are growing as reflected in the downtown redevelopment and increase in Kent State enrollment.


Park in the back of the building. Enter through the double doors on west side of the building or through the single door on south side of the building, marked "Kent Police Department."

Kent Parks and Recreation Department Offers Nature Program for Preschoolers at Plum Creek

Join the Kent Parks and Recreation Department for a short stroll in Plum Creek Park to view the native plants and wildlife along the stream's edge on  Tuesday, September 18, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event includes a look at the native wildflowers and other plants that have been blooming all summer and are continuing into the autumn with spectacular color and diversity. The natural corridor protects the creek and provides food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Cathy and Emliss Ricks will lead the walk along the restored stream corridor. Meet at Shelter House #2 in Plum Creek Park off of Cherry Street.


This is a free family program for preschoolers accompanied by an adult. Reservations are suggested. The walk will canceled in bad weather. For more information, contact the Kent Parks and Recreation Department at 330-673-8897.

Horizontal Fracking: What It Is and How It Can Affect You

The rush to unconventional gas drilling poses risks to Ohio's communities and natural resources. To help you sort out the fact from the fiction, here are some highlights from a fact sheet from the Ohio Environmental Council and the Buckeye Forest Council.



Fracking Column
Fracking column

After drilling vertically to a depth that reaches slightly above the shale, the drill bit is turned horizontally and pushed into the shale for a mile or more. Small fractures are created in the targeted area with underground explosions; a mixture of sand, water, and chemicals is injected at high pressure into the newly created fractures to further crack the rock and release the gas.


The environmental and health impacts from fracking in other states, such as Pennsylvania, are well documented, with numerous spills, blowouts, leaking wells, and other accidents and releases of contaminants.



Chemicals: Many of the chemicals used in fracking-hydrochloric acid, diesel fuel, and formaldehyde to name a few-are highly toxic and have serious short- and long-term health effects on humans.


A relatively new drilling technology-known as high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing-now makes it possible to reach natural gas reserves that underlie much of the state of Ohio. Commonly referred to as horizontal hydrofracking or just fracking, this deep-shale natural gas drilling method uses high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals to release trapped gas.


Water Contamination: Naturally occurring fissures and faults or the presence of a previously unregistered abandoned mine can allow highly contaminated fracking fluids, along with natural and methane gases and radioactive debris, to migrate upward and be released into aquifers serving drinking water wells.


Fracking Well
Fracking well

Water Usage: Hydrofracking requires the use of 4 million to 7 million gallons of water for each frack, and a single well could be fracked multiple times. The withdrawal of such large amounts of water from local resources can significantly impact Ohio's water resources.


Air Quality: Hazardous air emissions are released from a variety of sources throughout the fracking process. These include hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, methane and natural gas. Known public health effects from these emissions include reproductive, respiratory and blood disorders and central nervous system and neurological effects.


Local Impacts: Local communities will experience increased risks to public safety and infrastructure resulting from a significant increase in heavy truck traffic. In 2004, Ohio lawmakers took away all local authority over oil and gas drilling and gave it to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). This action is important because many of the impacts of fracking are felt locally; however, local communities have little say in the permitting process.



ODNR must significantly strengthen regulations to include, at a minimum, increased water well monitoring, stronger air emissions standards, and a prohibition on open-pit storage of fracking fluids.


The Ohio General Assembly should immediately issue a moratorium to withhold approval of new well permits involving high-volume, horizontal hydraulic exploration, drilling or extraction until fracking has been demonstrated to be safe for the environment and human health and is properly and effectively regulated.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the potential adverse effects of hydraulic fracturing, with the report due in 2014. Ohio must not allow risky deep-shale gas drilling before the conclusion of the EPA's study.


For more information, contact the Ohio Environmental Council at 614-487-7506 or the Buckeye Forest Council at 614-487-9290.

Eagles Flying High in Ohio

A pair of eagles returned to their nest at Lake Rockwell again this year, part of the success story of eagle restoration in Ohio. Dave Sherman, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife reported that monitoring of the eagles' nests is limited now because the department is short on staff. The agency estimates about 160 active eagles nests in Ohio with about 300 eaglets, up 10 percent since last year.


Eagle Rockwell 2003
Eagle at Lake Rockwell(photo by Brad Bolton, 2003)

Eagles are widespread throughout Ohio and are found in 60 of the 88 counties. Eagles are a sentinel species because they are at the top of the food chain(see graphic). They are an important indicator of the health of Lake Erie and all of Ohio's valuable fresh-water resources.


Food Chanin
Food chanin

Ohio's eagles had been decimated by DDT and other toxics, with a low of four nesting pairs in 1979. DDT was banned in 1972, but the long-lived pesticide and mercury and PCB bioaccumulates in their bodies from all the fish they eat, means that efforts to reduce toxics must continue in order to protect human health as well as the health of the eagles.


For more information, contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife at 800-WILDLIFE (800-945-3543).

Lake Erie Bacteria and Algae Spur Beach Advisories

Visitors at several Ohio beaches are being warned that they may want to avoid the water because of high levels of harmful bacteria and blue-green algae, a cyanobacteria. Recent thunderstorms may be responsible for untreated sewage overflowing into rivers and Lake Erie.


Beach Jeffrey Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant program of Ohio State University, said algae blooms are common in summer when the water temperature is warm and when there is a higher level of phosphorous.


This particular blue-green algae, however, can produce a toxin that can sicken humans and animals. Various state and local agencies monitor specific swimming beaches and post advisories when the water exceeds 400,000 bacteria cell count per milliliter. Children, seniors, and those who have immune system complications should follow advisories carefully.


Portage Countiy's newest state park, Wingfoot Lake State Park, was one of 20 inland lakes with cyanobacteria problems in 2010. However, this year the ODNR is targeting monitoring lakes that have swimming beaches. Because Wingfoot has no swimming beach, the ODNR Division of State Parks has no information. If the lake served as a drinking-water source or if any fish kills had occurred, the ODNR Division of Wildlife would test the water.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently issued its annual beach survey and found that the number of advisory days and beach closings in 2011 reached the third highest level in the council's 22-year history, totaling 23,481 days. More than two thirds of the closings and advisories were issued because of bacteria levels in the beach water exceeded public health standards. The largest known source of pollution was storm-water runoff. To protect people from unsafe levels of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, strict beach water quality standards must be accompanied by 21st century green infrastructure in cities. Examples include green roofs, porous pavement, street plantings and rain gardens.


Polluted beach water makes swimmers sick and hurts coastal economies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary overflows each year. Many public health experts believe that the number of people who get sick from swimming in polluted recreational waters are not always aware of the cause of their illness and do not report it to doctors or local health officials.


Ohio and other coastal states provide more than just local recreation; approximately 85 percent of all U.S. tourism revenue is received in coastal states. According to a 2009 survey by the National Ocean Economics Program, the nation's shoreline-adjacent counties contributed an estimated $6 trillion to the nation's gross domestic product and 47 million jobs. The loss to local economies from beach closings and advisories is significant. The travel and tourism industry in Ohio is second in revenue, exceeded only by agriculture.


The NRDC ranked states by the percentage of beach water samples received that exceeded the national recommendation standard in 2011. Ohio was second only to Louisiana in this measure of polluted beaches.


Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 5, 2012; NRDC, Testing the Waters, 2012.

Bog Tour and Boardwalk Dedication Set for Saturday,
October 13

Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 13, when the Friends of the Kent Bog will host Gordon Vars Bog Day at the Tom S. Cooperrider Kent Bog and Nature Preserve. The friends group will be dedicating the Gordon F. Vars Memorial Boardwalk with a short presentation of Gordon's tireless efforts to protect and promote the bog. Also featured are guided tours and the Unitarian Universalist Church choir. Light refreshments will be served. The bog should be in full autumn splendor-one of Gordon's favorite seasons at the bog.

Dues Renewal Reminder

For those KEC members who did not pay their 2012 dues at the beginning of this year, we hope you will consider renewing your membership as well as completing the KEC membership form so that you can receive your monthly e-mail newsletters each month. If you are not a member, we hope you will join us. Our KEC membership levels are the same:  $45, Sustaining; $35, Family; $25, Individual; $15 Golden Buckeye; $10 Student; $500, Lifetime membership. Enclose your check made payable to: Kent Environmental Council" along with the completed membership form to: KEC, P.O. Box 395, Kent OH 44240.




Offer Expires: No Expiration Date