Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wolrdwide fish virus now killing thousands of Pymatuning Reservoir carp

Well-known and respected Pennsylvania outdoors writer Darl Black said that a recent crappie fishing outing on Pymatuning Reservoir with his wife Marilyn stunk, but it wasn’t for the lack of catching any of the tasty panfish.

Instead, a nose-curling stench came from the rotting carcasses of untold thousands of carp, the fish dying as the result of the swift-moving and equally fast-acting koi herpes-virus. This virus was identified only in 2000 but has been encountered nearly worldwide – particularly in countries with extensive aquaculture industries such as India, China, and Israel where carp are raised for food.

Also heavily impacted are places with considerable ornamental fish businesses that raise the carps’ close cousin, the koi, the species after which the viral disease is named.

To date only carp and koi have been identified as susceptible to koi herpes-virus and no other member of the minnow family – to which these two species belong – has shown evidence of the disease.

As for visible symptoms, infected fish typically exhibit signs of infection that include severe gill lesions seen as gill mottling with red and white patches, bleeding gills, sunken eyes, and pale patches on the skin.

An infected fish may succumb to the disease in an eye-blink of a rush: within only one or two days. And some research says that an ornamental koi pond could be totally wiped out in a matter of just a few weeks.

However, both the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have been quick to quiet any fears that koi herpes-virus poses a risk to human health.

Matt Wolfe, fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Division’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) Office in Akron, said that diseased-dead carp were first noted around the Labor Day weekend at the 16,349-acre flood-control reservoir, built in the mid-1930s. The lake rests in both Ohio and Pennsylvania and which share joint fisheries management of the popular Northeast Ohio-northwest Pennsylvania angling destination.

We began receiving a few reports here and there but over the past few weeks the numbers have pretty steadily ramped up,” Wolfe said.

No sick or dead carp were observed by Fish Commission staff in the eastern portion of the reservoir commonly referred to as the Pymatuning Sanctuary. The sanctuary is separated from the main lake by a narrow dam and small spillway. This is the fabled and popular tourism location where “the ducks walk on the fishes’ backs.”

Live carp were collected by Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Commission staff on September 12 who then shipped the fish to the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for testing. The Center confirmed on September 21 that the fish had tested positive for the koi herpes-virus, said Commission spokesman Eric Levis.

Both Ohio and Pennsylvania fisheries experts say there is no way of knowing where the disease originated, though Pymatuning’s exceptionally large carp population made it an ideal candidate for koi herpes-virus to gain a foothold, Wolfe said.

If you had to pick a lake where there’d be a high likelihood for the disease, Pymatuning would be it,” Wolfe said.

The Fish Commission’s addendum on the subject notes that the disease could have been found in some infected fish, been present in the bilge water of an angler’s boat, or perhaps it originated from a backyard pond or maybe the disease came with an aquarium fish that someone may have released into the lake.

But Wolfe did note that with the arrival of cooler weather the lake’s water temperature will decline as well, throttling back the incidence of the disease.

As for whether the koi herpes-virus will rear its ugly head, that is “hard to say”, though perhaps the disease’s impact template may match that of another fish virus, said Wolfe.

Look at VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia) that hit Lake Erie; it ran rampant and eventually fish began developing an immunity to it,” Wolfe said.

However, the Fish Commission says it is entirely possible that Pymatuning may experience periodic outbreaks of koi herpes-virus. That situation has some history at Pymatuning which is still seeing residual outbreaks of “red spot disease,” a viral infection that has periodically plagued the lake’s renowned muskie population.

Even so, one concern remains that the some carp may not necessarily becomes victims of koi herpes-virus but possibly may become transmitters of the disease; a sort of Typhoid Mary for carp.

Added to that worry, Wolfe says, is that the disease “could jump ship and be bounced from one lake to another” via hitching a ride in the watery live well of an anglers’ boat or attached to the strands of hydruala - which has likewise infected Pymatuning - and then dropped in the waters of some other reservoir, lake or stream.

Here at the Division when we retrieve one of our boats we thoroughly treat the hull and the trailer with disinfectant to kill any organism,” Wolfe said. “It’s a good and highly recommended practice for anyone to do.”

The Fish and Boat Commission says also that its web site for more information on how to “Clean Your Gear” and stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. That site is at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Portman's bipartisan senatorial efforts pay off with algal bloom control legislation

Ohio’s junior senator and Republican Rob Portman has managed to cross the fractious political divide and engage several of his Democratic colleagues to come aboard in an effort to deal with massive algal blooms.

Portman joined with Florida’s U.S. Senator and Democrats senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Gary Peters of Michigan to see to it that the full Senate successfully passed the “Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act.”

This act reauthorizes the 1998 act that bears the same name, with Portman and Nelson also working together in 2014 for a reauthorization of the act. In that reauthorization Portman managed to secure a Great Lakes’ associated segment that helped to prioritize efforts directed at such freshwater bodies as Lake Erie.

Portman says the program – which is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - was birthed by the original act which fueled the federal government’s research and subsequent response toward dealing with harmful algal blooms.

Such blooms have plagued Lake Erie for several years. The record-breaking heat in September along with a general lack of both wind and rain exasperated the algal bloom situation on Lake Erie and the Maumee River in September, scientists say.

Nelson has a proprietary interest in the subject as well. That is because algal “dead zones” have cropped up in the salty Gulf of Mexico just as they have in Lake Erie’s freshwater and the Chesapeake Bay’s brackish water.

In the case of the Gulf of Mexico, an algal-created oxygen-deprived dead zone the size of New Jersey occurred in 2014 while one measuring more than 8,481 square miles developed in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2002.

Importantly, said Portman, recent program efforts include NOAA’s seasonal forecasts on the expected severity of algal bloom events in Lake Erie along with a biweekly Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom bulletin issued by NOAA. This bulletin provides forecasts of the movement and toxicity of bloom events in Lake Erie as well as such inland water bodies as Buckeye Lake or Grand Lake St. Marys, Portman said, noting the size and scope of the problem.

"This legislation takes critical steps toward protecting Lake Erie and other freshwater bodies throughout Ohio and the nation from toxic algae,” Portman said, noting that it’s “important that these water bodies are protected, as they supply drinking water to millions of Ohioans and are critical for Ohio’s tourism and fishing industries.”

Portman said also that for the first the renewed legislation will allow for possible funding to be made available to communities with significant algal bloom outbreaks to “help protect against environmental, economic, and public health risks.”

I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this important legislation to the president for his signature," said Portman. 

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ohio's Natural Resources Department continues to defend the indefensible

Even after nearly seven years of holding down the fort the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ leadership still finds itself trying to both win over pro-sportsmens organizations and justify its full-nelson hold on the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

No where does this mangled mindset appear more in evidence than via a video shot September 8th during a portion of the Ohio State Trappers Association’s annual convention, held at the Holmes County Fairgrounds in Millersburg.

This hour-plus-long video contains a testy (at times) exchange between members of the Trappers Association and the Natural Resources Department’s assistant director Gary Obermiller. It is posted on the Association’s Facebook page.

Subsequent comments made by Association attendees that are linked with the video also suggest that Obermiller’s efforts have achieved little in the way of bolstering confidence in the agency.

Which is in keeping with the Natural Resources Department on-going inability to acknowledge that it has an appearance problem trending toward arrogance. This pomposity has defined the agency’s leadership from the beginning and which still lurches itself onward with faux swagger.

Indeed, the Natural Resources Department continues to misread the breadth and depth of distrust that many Ohio sportsmen/sportswomen hold for the agency.

In a statement worthy of former Trump Administration press secretary Sean Spicer, Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman Matt Eislestein added to the administration’s string of back-handed insults of anyone who dares to disagree with the agency.

When asked if Obermiller wanted to amend, change, expand or comment on his statements and performance at the Trappers’ meet, Eiselstein simply stated “I don’t think anything needs added to Assistant Director Obermiller’s appearance at the Ohio State Trappers Association event. He was polite and respectful when answering questions even when interrupted and badgered during his responses.”

Similar vainglorious statements were belched a few months back when roughly 40 state and national conservation groups backed increases to Ohio resident hunting and fishing license fees. Then the Natural Resources Department’s leadership smugly snorted – in effect – as how the non-profit groups should have undertaken a poll of their respective memberships on whether the organizations should say yea or nay to any increase in resident hunting and fishing license fees.

Even forgetting for a moment the logistical improbability of mounting such a step, the very reason people belong to these organizations is because of their conservation activism. All of that is still being lost on the Natural Resources Department’s directorship which seems to believe that anything other than its opinion is fake news.

Clearly this self-promoting strategy spilled over unto the state trapper’s annual pow-wow stage; a group the Natural Resources Department now seems bent on disenfranchising by saying its people badgered Obermiller.

Obviously, too, Natural Resources Department officials both misinterpreted the response to Obermiller’s defense of the indefensible but have also failed – and miserably so – to acknowledge any of the sod-busting efforts on the part of previous administrations which broke ground on various sportsmen initiatives.

In one instance Obermiller attempted to singularly sing the praises regarding his administration’s efforts at opening state parks, natural areas and nature preserves to hunting. And while any and all such effort must be applauded, neither Obermiller, nor Natural Resources Department director James Zehringer - or even Wildlife Division chief Mike Miller - can possibly file an original patent on the idea. Their claim that the Wildlife Division has not taken advantage of this access opportunity is simply bogus.

Then too Obermiller’s statement that state parks have more public water for anglers was a bit surprising and something that stretched reality to the breaking point. After all, Ohio anglers have the Ohio River to the south and something called Lake Erie to the north. Take away those two minor fishing holes and it doesn’t take much of an imagination to determine how low fishing license sales would dip.

As the video shows, now-retired Wildlife Division District Three (Northeast Ohio) supervisor Jeff Herrick pointedly and correctly provided a short history regarding his former employer’s decades-long work in achieving the opening of dozens of state parks as well as natural areas to hunting and the agency’s dogged efforts to share this effort with Ohio’s sportsmen.

And while Herrick’s response was maybe an octave louder than a normal tone of voice, to say that his reaction to Obermiller’s politically talented interpretation of events was somehow “badgering” easily achieves audacity.

Herrick’s responses – and there were multiples of them – also demonstrated the on-going frustration felt by many sportsmen towards current Natural Resources Department’s policies and perceived threats against the Wildlife Division. These perceptions simply have not gone away because more than a few sportsmen/sportswomen still do not trust the Natural Resources Department’s leadership. Again, seven years into the department’s leadership tenure.

They remain outraged as the Natural Resources Department has utilized the Wildlife Division the way a baseball franchise mines its farm club system; robbing the latter of dedicated and experienced employees. A move that included removing the Wildlife Division’s head of law enforcement for the do-it-or-be-dismissed job of babysitting the Natural Resources Department’s communications room.

And when Obermiller tried to say that under the Natural Resources bold leadership the state parks system has achieved fiscal solvency it was candidly pointed out to him that the pilfering of the former Ohio Division of Watercraft with its fiscally solid Waterways Safety Fund, and then shuffling them into the Parks Division, certainly didn’t hurt Parks’ bottom line.

Obermiller wasn’t all wrong nor all bad, however. He was spot on in saying that the multitude of so-called wildlife production areas owned by the Wildlife Division deserve better play. Indeed, these highly obscure parcels of often superb wildlife habitat are decades old but are minimally known by Ohio’s hunters. In this regard the Natural Resources Department earns top marks for wanting to see the Wildlife Division do much more in promoting them.

And credit Obermiller for noting that the Wildlife Division has for too long been viewed as the pretty one of the Natural Resources Department’s family at the expense of its lesser siblings. Sure, some of that feeling is nothing more than jealousy but there is more than an element of truth to the long-held belief.

Problem was, Obermiller had few of these positives; his presentation often citing items of dubious accuracy. His statements on Zehringer’s Natural Resources ad hoc citizens committee make it seems like it is comprised of average joes plucked from the street. The members are anything but, and a going over the list shows more friends of the agency’s leadership than foes; a tell-tale sign that Zehringer wants to hear happy news first, foremost and last.

Even more startling, near the conclusion of the video Obermiller commented on a question addressing these two ad hoc committees. Regarding the new Wildlife Ad Hoc Committee, Obermiller said that he believes there are 12 members but “I can’t tell you all (their) names.” That is a stunning admission given that one of the committee members said he was recruited to join the group by none other than Obermiller himself.

Obmiller said as well that one year from now when he returns to the Trappers’ annual convention, if the group’s membership tells him that the Natural Resources Department has “mucked things up” he’ll take his “medicine.”

Alas, the Kasich-Zehringer-Obermiller political machine has pretty much squandered seven of its eight allotted years. And sadly this means that Administration officials still have an entire year and change to keep mucking things up, to recycle Obermiller’s own words.

To view the video, go to the Ohio State trappers Association’s Facebook page at Note that at times the visual portion of the program is heavily pixelated while the audio portion includes segments that will need rewinding and subsequent rehearing.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ohio's Wildlife Division still lead agency in stream pollution investigations

Quashing talk that the Ohio Division of Wildlife is no longer actively engaged in stream pollution cases, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources defended both agency’s performance in protecting the environment.

The subject recently bubbled to the surface internally that the Wildlife Division has been ordered to stay away from investigating and enforcing reported stream pollution incidents. This alleged hands-off order was particularly addressed regarding alleged violations involving agricultural practices, hinting that the Natural Resources Department did not want to rile the state’s powerful farming interests.

Fuel to the fire came recently with the issuance of press release issued by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

That September 20th Ohio Attorney General communique stated that “… a Crawford County man was sentenced for dumping 600 gallons of ammonia-contaminated water that ended up in a local waterway, causing a fish kill.

Wesley Christman, 62, of Monnett, was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, complete four years of probation, and not commit any further environmental offenses.”

The release goes on to say that Christman “… then watched the water flow into a storm sewer, knowing the contaminated water would then move into Allen Run, a tributary of the Little Scioto River. The polluted water ultimately caused a fish kill.”

Yet the Ohio Attorney General’s release concluded with the statement how “Agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency investigated the case.”

Missing in the whole and in part of the release, though, was the fact that Ohio Division of Wildlife officers were likewise deeply committed to the case.

The Division of Wildlife was also involved in the Ohio EPA investigation, which was occurring simultaneously, regarding the pollution case. The Ohio EPA pursued charges against the individual involved in the spill and Wildlife staff were prepared to testify in this case,” said Natural Resources Department spokesman, Matt Eiselstein.

Thus, said, Eiselstein, the Wildlife Division similarly investigated the fish kill and subsequently “received $14,451 from the farm co-op involved in this incident.”
Eiselstein said too that claims about the Wildlife Division abdicating its pollution investigation activity are untrue, nothing that Ohio law still designates that agency as the lead one in such work.

That requirement is channeled in chapters 1531 and 1533 of the Ohio Revised Code, states the agency’s “Pollution Policy” on the subject.

In addition, the Division of Wildlife was designated in 1968 by the General Assembly to have statewide jurisdiction in the enforcement of the stream litter law. Sections 1531.29 and 3767.32 of the ORC prohibit placing debris in or along streams or lakes. Investigation of wild animals killed by stream pollution and stream litter enforcement are both high priority programs in the Division,” the “Pollution Policy” document reads as well.

As a result, said Eiselstein, “no duties were transferred,” while the Wildlife Division officers also investigated the fish kill “and collected monies for the investigation and animals killed.”

They (Wildlife Division officers) also assisted Ohio EPA in the prosecution of the pollution case,” Eiselstein said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ohio anti-puppy mill proposal moves forward; impact on bird dog breeding unknown

A big hurdle has been surmounted regarding an Ohio constitutional amendment affecting the business of breeding dogs.

Called the “Ohio Puppy Prevention Amendment,” the initiative petition was certified by the Ohio Attorney General as having met certain legal criteria. This criteria contained both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposal, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

By accepting the filing from attorneys representing “Stop Puppy Mills Ohio,” the Ohio Attorney General has green-lighted the next step, which will mean petitioners have their work cut out for them. They will have to meet various voter signature-gathering requirements in order to place their agenda before Ohio’s voters, likely in 2018. That is the target date the “Stop” group states on its web site.

Ohio has often been cited by animal rights organizations as being a hotbed of of the so-called “puppy mill” business, defined in a 1984 Minnesota court case as “a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.”

It is estimated by some animal rights groups that as many as 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills produce about two million canines annually in the United States with a 2004 estimate of 4,000 dogs born in Ohio.

However, calls in the past for crackdowns on the so called “puppy mill” issue has met some resistance from legitimate bird-dog and houndsman enthusiasts. They fear that a too broadly written law could very well hurt their small and specialized operations that typically involve only one or a few pure-bred female dogs.

As for his duties as Attorney General in regards to this petition, DeWine says:

Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

DeWine said also that once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a signle issue or multiple issues.

That requirement is vital. The reason being is that petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to five percent of the total vote in the county for the office of governor during the immediately previous gubernatorial election.

Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election, DeWine said.

In other words, more than 305,000 signatures will be needed.

The petitioner’s summary is lengthy and detailed. They also claim that the proposed ballot language will exempt so-called “hobbyist breeders.” This term is defined by the petitioners as keeping seven or fewer unspayed female dogs.

Also exempt are those persons who sell 15 or fewer dogs in the state each year.

However, the requirements as stipulated for the generic term “puppy mill” are rigorous. They include defining the parameters of care, how often dogs are to be fed, continuous access to potable water that is “free of contaminants,” access to veterinarian care, sheltering, exercise, and “socialization.”

It even states how many times a “puppy mill”-eligible female dog can be breed: no more than twice in any 18-month period and no more than six times in a female dog’s lifetime.

Many of the demands are quite specific and includes where dogs can be sold. They include animal shelters, animal rescue centers, legally defined hobbyist breeders, and those commercial breeders who are compliant with the proposed Ohio constitutional amendment, should it ultimately be placed on a near future ballot and after it has met all of the initiative petition requirements.

The full text of today’s letter and the amendment petition submitted by the attorneys for “Stop Puppy Mills Ohio” can be found at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ohio commercial fishing ban efforts likely to continue in spite of good walleye, perch hatches

Near average hatches of both walleye and yellow perch in Lake Erie's Western Basin will continue to top off the angling tanks of fishers in that end of the lake.

Whether such good hatches will spill over into the Central Basin remains to be seen, though at least for the more migratory walleye, that chance is pretty much a given.

For yellow perch the question is more problematic.

That being said, efforts are underway from Lorain east to the Pennsylvania line to work toward ensuring that recreational perch anglers will find less interference from Ohio's small commercial fishing trap-netting fleet.

More than just talk is beginning to bubble and brew over still-developing plans to eliminate commercial fishing altogether in Ohio's share of Lake Erie. Whether that effort means working towards buying out the commercial fishermen or legislatively banning such activity is still undetermined.

However, meetings have been held in the Central Basin between sport angling activists, state legislators and others to get a move on in ridding Lake Erie of all commercial fishing. Or much more specifically, commercial fishing in Ohio's share of Lake Erie.

Until details are released by proponents of tighter restrictions on commercial fisherman or an outright ban is instituted, Ohio recreational anglers must satisfy themselves knowing that Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch stocks are both doing exceptionally well.

Here, then, is the Ohio Division of Wildlife's official take on this year's walleye and yellow perch hatch in the Lake's Western Basin:

"Each year in August, wildlife agencies from around the western basin of Lake Erie sample the waters using bottom trawls in search of young of the year walleye and yellow perch. Data from these bottom trawls are combined into a basin-wide index, and fisheries biologists compare the figures to previous years to estimate the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches.

"Biologists from the ODNR Division of Wildlife conducted bottom trawling surveys at nearly 40 sampling locations across Ohio waters of the western basin. This information provide biologists with an estimate of how many young fish will enter the fishable population two years later.

"Based upon results from the August trawl surveys, the 2017 yellow perch hatch was successful in Ohio waters of the western basin. Initial results found 280 yellow perch per hectare compared to the 20-year average of 300 yellow perch per hectare. Five good yellow perch hatches in a row should help the perch population in the western basin continue to rebuild and lead to quality yellow perch fishing over the next several years.

"The 2017 walleye hatch was near the 20-year average in Ohio waters of the western basin. Average to excellent hatches from three of the past four years have resulted in an abundance of young walleye to complement the older and larger fish that make up the current Lake Erie walleye population. Results from Ohio’s surveys found 21 walleye per hectare. The average since 1998 is 22 walleye per hectare.

"During the upcoming months, Ohio and Ontario bottom trawl data will be combined to estimate the basin-wide hatches of walleye and yellow perch. These estimates will be used as part of the annual process to determine jurisdictional quotas.

"Information on the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, fishing reports, and maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at"

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 11, 2017

Birders excited that Hurricane Irma's track may shuttle rare bird species to the area

Ohio’s birding community is preparing to make lemonade out of the lemons still tossed about by Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.

With at-one-time a powerful Category Five storm, Hurricane Irma crashed through the Caribbean, swept up the west coast of Florida and is now headed toward the Tennessee River Valley with its remnants possibly to likely invading the Ohio River Valley.

It is what Hurricane Irma is carrying that is intriguing Ohio’s birding community: bird species seldom or even rarely encountered in the state.

“It’s unfortunate that the hurricane happened but birders are prepared to take advantage of potential sightings,” said John Pogacnik, Lake Metroparks’ biologist and an avid birder.

“Hurricane Harvey never did much and it didn’t bring anything into Ohio because it sort of died out,” Pogacnik said.

What makes Irma so different is the anticipated hook the storm’s remnants are anticipated to take; a route that is projected to move north-northwest and then swing northeast.

When freed of the winds and the resulting entrapment, the birds are going to work to find a place to rest their weary wings. This potential appearance of uncommonly to rarely seen bird species could began as soon as the end of this week, Pogacnik says.

Pogacnik says too that sea birds and shorebirds in particular are likely to be Hurricane Irma’s hitchhikers. Among these potential avian visitors are laughing gulls, magnificent frigate birds, and shearwaters.

“These birds may very well have been trapped inside the eye of the hurricane for days, and they could end up along Lake Erie or some of our inland lakes” Pogacnik said. “We also could see some rare terns showing up, too, but it’s all possible. It could be some good stuff.”

Even so, Pogacnik says whatever arrives may stick around for only a day or two and then depart in an effort to return to places the bird is more familiar with in the way of suitable habitat.

However, not all of any arriving refugee bird may make it back home alive, Pogacnik says.

“Some of these bird species can live only in a salt-water environment, and we could see that these birds have died; it’s happened before,” Pogacnik said. “It could go bad for some species.”

As for what Hurricane Irma and its residuals might mean to migrating birds – which have begun their seasonal trek south – Pogacnik says the recent weather events could delay but will not stop, that travel.

Yet whatever happens the birding community is ready, and its spy-glassing citizens are primed to take quick action when news via the Internet appears quicker than a carrier pigeon, Pogachik says.

Among the sites that Ohio birders will find themselves monitoring include the North American Rare Bird Alert (,,, and

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 8, 2017

With Irma's eye on Forida, this is what the Coast Guard expended on Harvey

NEW ORLEANS -- The Coast Guard has completed search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Harvey but continues to work alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal, state and local partners to address pollution concerns as a result of the storm.

During their response to Hurricane Harvey, Coast Guard men and women rescued 11,022 people and 1,384 pets.

Involved in the Coast Guard response were:

• 2,060 active duty, Reserve, civil servant and Auxiliary personnel from as far away as Guam, Alaska and Hawaii
• 50 rotary and fixed-wing aircraft
• 75 shallow-water boats
• 29 cutters

Of the 2,519 Coast Guard members who live in the impacted areas in Texas, 51 suffered catastrophic property loss and 124 others reported property damage. Most of the members who experienced these losses were heavily involved in response efforts despite the personal challenges they faced.

“The Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey is one of the largest our organization has seen in decades, and men and women from the furthest reaches of our service answered the call to assist others in their time of need,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, commander of the Coast Guard 8th District.

“I’m incredibly proud and humbled by the resiliency of our first responders who were deeply impacted but continued to work around the clock to save more than 11,000 people in a matter of days.”

All commercial ports in Texas have reopened, and Coast Guard captains of the port for the Corpus Christi and Houston-Galveston captain of the port zones are continuing to evaluate and reassess port restrictions.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn