Audubon Ohio News - April 21, 2003

  • From: "SINGER, Deborah" <DSINGER@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <audubonoh-news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 10:10:41 -0400

Audubon Ohio News - April 21, 2003

1.      Who's Who in the State Legislature
2.      Environmental Activism Made Oh So Easy
3.      GBBC Results May Show Impact of West Nile Virus
4.      Important Bird Area Update
5.      Pollution Down by Five Percent - Why Ohioans Are Not Smiling


Studies over the years have repeatedly shown that most Americans are not =
aware of who represents them in government.  Surprisingly large =
percentages cannot name their own Senators and Congressmen.  Much =
greater percentages cannot name their state legislators.

Auduboners tend to be more aware than most citizens of who represents =
them in state government.  Even those of us who can name our State =
Representative and State Senator, however, often do not know what =
committees they sit on, or what leadership positions they hold.  Yet we =
know that certain legislative committees will have substantial influence =
over the conservation programs we hold dear.

Two committees in the Ohio House of Representatives are of particular =
concern to Audubon Ohio.  The Agriculture and Natural Resources =
Committee is chaired by Rep. James Aslanides, whose district encompasses =
Coshocton County and most of Muskingum County, including Zanesville.  =
The Energy and Environment Committee is chaired by Rep. Nancy Hollister, =
whose district encompasses Guernsey, Noble and Monroe Counties, most of =
Washington County (including Marietta), and a small part of Muskingum =

In the Ohio Senate the committee of greatest concern is the Energy, =
Natural Resources and Environment Committee.  It is chaired by Sen. =
Robert Spada, whose district encompasses a string of suburbs across the =
western, southern and eastern edges of Cuyahoga County.

Audubon members should contact their state legislators from time to time =
just to advise them that we support Audubon and are interested in what =
they are doing.  The simplest way to contact a state legislator is to =
address a letter to them at Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio 43215.  Each =
house of the General Assembly has its own website, = for the Senate and for the =
House.  These websites will help you determine who represents you in the =
General Assembly, and how to contact them.

Audubon members who live in the districts of the committee chairmen =
identified above should make a particular effort to establish a =


Have you ever wanted to make a difference for Ohio's environment but =
felt overwhelmed with the busy schedule of modern life?  If so, you are =
invited to join the Sustainable Ohio Action Partnership (SOAP).  SOAP is =
Ohio's newest, easiest way to make a difference with your email account. =

Through SOAP, a coalition of state-based environmental organizations, =
including Audubon Ohio, will send you one email a month detailing an =
important environmental issue facing your government.  If you would like =
to send a letter on that issue, simply reply to our message and your =
response will be converted to a fax and then delivered to important =
decision-makers.  It's that easy to use your email to have your =
important and relevant comments entered into the public record.  SOAP =
also allows you to personalize the message by editing it as much as you =

The Sustainable Ohio Action Partnership is a coalition of over 3000 =
citizens acting on behalf of Ohio's natural treasures.  Please join the =
growing force of Ohio residents advocating for change by visiting = or join SOAP by calling Marnie Urso =
with the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund at (216) 623-1717.

If you are looking for something a bit more intense than simply =
responding once a month to a SOAP alert, consider volunteering for one =
of the new "Green Teams" being organized by the Ohio Environmental =
Council.  The OEC will provide training on how to be a citizen lobbyist, =
and will provide background information and guidance on how to lobby =
your state legislators on particular issues.  You can enroll by visiting =  For more information, contact =
Heidi Hisrich at the OEC at (614) 487-7506.


The results of this year's Great Backyard Bird Count are in.  GBBC was =
conducted during President's Day weekend this past February.  Results =
show a dramatic decline in crow population in Ohio.  In 2001, =
participants spotted 1,367 crows; in 2002 the number dropped a bit to =
1,191, but in 2003 only 605 crows were spotted, a decline of nearly 50 =
percent in one year.

John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Ornithology Lab, speculates =
that the substantial decline in crow populations in Ohio may be due to =
West Nile Virus.  Crows appear to be particularly vulnerable to the =
virus.  It is worth noting, however, that this year's GBBC coincided =
with the arrival of a large snowstorm that went on for two days, and =
undoubtedly reduced both the number of volunteers who were able to =
participate in the count and the number of birds observed.  The =
snowstorm, however, did not necessarily reduce the numbers observed for =
all species.  The storm may have driven more dark-eyed juncos to =
feeders, resulting in the increase from 1,297 reported in Ohio in 2002 =
to 1,754 reported in 2003.=20

With the weather warming up, we are likely to see a resurgence of West =
Nile Virus in Ohio in coming months.  The disease has generated a lot of =
concern, so it is important to keep a few facts in mind:

=B7     Most mosquitoes bites will not lead to a WNV infection=20
=B7     Most people who are infected with WNV do not develop any type of =
=B7     It is estimated that 20% of the people who become infected will =
develop West Nile fever: mild symptoms, including fever, headache, and =
body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and =
swollen lymph glands.=20
=B7     About 1 of each 150 infected persons becomes seriously ill with =
central nervous system infection (encephalitis &/or meningitis)=20

What about handling birds when conducting research, such as bird =
banding?  A certain amount of precaution is warranted.  An excellent =
fact sheet on this topic recently issued by The Ornithological Council =
is posted at:


The purpose of the Ohio Important Bird Area (IBA) program is to identify =
and protect critical bird habitat to keep "common birds common," and to =
protect populations of endangered and/or threatened species. BirdLife =
International started the IBA program in the mid-1980s in Europe and =
Africa.  The National Audubon Society is the partner of BirdLife =
International for designating important bird areas in the United States. =
Today, IBAs are being identified in 156 countries around the world.=20

What exactly is an IBA? Simply, it is an area that is important to =
birds. An IBA can be important to bird conservation in several ways.  It =
may have habitat for bird species that are rare or declining in numbers. =
Or it may support very high numbers of birds, whether those birds are =
endangered or not. It may also be a site for important research.

Audubon's Ohio IBA Technical Committee has identified 98 sites meeting =
scientific criteria. Many of these sites have been combined into IBA =
complexes that reflect the related nature of contiguous sites and/or =
ecological similarities of the sites. Our actual IBA list in Ohio will =
eventually number somewhere in the 50 to 60 range.

Over the past year we have been conducting Bird Monitoring Workshops =
around the state. In the past two months we held workshops at The =
Wilderness Center in Stark County, at Sandy Ridge Metropark in Lorain =
County, and at Hueston Woods State Park in Preble County. We urge you to =
participate in upcoming workshops.

Audubon Ohio is also anticipating two dedications of IBAs. These public =
dedications help show people the importance of the sites to bird =
conservation. On Saturday, April 26, Hueston Woods will be dedicated in =
a 1:30 p.m.ceremony at the Nature Center. Shaker Lakes will be dedicated =
Saturday, May 3, in a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. Please join in.


Several news media reported on April 17 that pollution in North America =
dropped by five percent between 1995 and 2000.  Sounds great, right?  =
But the number seems a bit too round and convenient.  A closer =
examination of the source documents show that things aren't quite this =

The news reports are based on a study by the Commission for =
Environmental Cooperation, an intergovernmental organization set up =
under the North American Free Trade Agreement.  The study is based on =
toxic release reports filed by regulated industries in the United =
States, Canada and Mexico.  Hence, it does not track all "pollution;" it =
merely tracks reported releases of particular types of chemicals.  These =
chemicals are typically those that can be toxic in relatively low doses, =
e.g., heavy metals, acids and complex organic compounds such as =
chlorinated hydrocarbons.  They do not include most of the "criteria" =
air pollutants, such as nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide or sulfur =
dioxide.  They also do not include carbon dioxide or methane, two of the =
major contributors to global warming.  Finally, they do not include most =
waste sent to landfills,  the pollutants that come out of our tailpipes, =
and litter.

The study is based on "reported" releases.  It does not account for =
releases by parties that, for one reason or another, are not required to =
file reports.  The report suggests, however, that smaller, non-regulated =
parties may be causing more than their share of pollution.  The report =
notes that while overall quantities of total releases have declined, =
releases by smaller operators increased by 15 percent during the study =
period.  The study also does not account for releases by cheaters, that =
is, parties that falsify their reports, or simply fail to report at all. =

While the overall decline in reported releases in North America may =
provide some limited encouragement, even after all of the limitations of =
the study are taken into account, the numbers from Ohio are not at all =
encouraging.  Ohio is second only to Texas among all states and =
provinces in total releases.  Further, our releases per capita greatly =
exceed those in Texas (41 pounds per person in Ohio, 25 pounds per =
person in Texas).  We also produce far more pollutants per dollar of =
economic activity than Texas does (1,249 pounds of pollutant per million =
dollars of gross domestic product here; 705 pounds in Texas).  As if =
these releases were not bad enough, Ohio is first among all states and =
provinces in the amount of pollutants that end up here (both those we =
produce and keep in state and those shipped in from elsewhere).  In =
fact, we receive nearly twice as many pollutants by volume as the next =
closest state (Pennsylvania).

The Ohio statistics could provide some interesting talking points when =
you meet with your state legislators.  Be sure to ask how satisfied they =
are with the current state of affairs, and if they are not satisfied, =
ask what they plan to do about it.

AudubonOH-NEWS is sent to Audubon chapter leaders, board members, and =
others interested in Audubon activities in Ohio. If you do not wish to =
receive further editions, it is easy to unsubscribe: simply send an =
e-mail message to audubonoh-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx In the subject =
of your e-mail, write UNSUBSCRIBE. We can be reached through e-mail at =
ohio@xxxxxxxxxxx, phone at (614) 224-3303, or mail at 692 N High St Ste =
208, Columbus, OH 43215. =20

Other related posts:

  • » Audubon Ohio News - April 21, 2003