With Ohio’s deer archery season beginning Sept. 26, it’s important to realize that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) typically affects some white-tailed deer in the late summer and is not all that unusual. In fact, EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the eastern U.S., and the disease occurs annually in the late summer and fall in deer herds across North America. Ohio has documented some cases of EHD this summer, mostly in northwest Ohio.

The EHD virus is not infectious to people and is not spread from animal to animal, but is transmitted by the bite of small insects called midges, so EHD-associated deaths in deer can occur until the first frost of the year causes a decline in midge activity. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days, and many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. There is little that can be done to protect wild deer from the virus. Outbreaks of EHD can result in high deer mortality in some areas but populations typically increase within a few years.

White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope are susceptible to the disease. Deer infected with this virus may show symptoms including lethargy, head hung down, loss of fear of humans, swelling of the tongue and head and neck, difficulty breathing, and excess salivation. Affected deer are often found in or near bodies of water, likely because of fever and dehydration.

People should avoid touching or handling sick or dead wild animals. Sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported at wildohio.gov/reportwildlife, your local Ohio wildlife officer, or wildlife district office. For information about EHD visit wildohio.gov.

H2Ohio effort funded

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has partnered with the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) to strengthen the impact of the H2Ohio water quality initiative and the OWDA has approved $5 million to fund additional wetlands efforts.

“This partnership will help us magnify H2Ohio’s impact as we work to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “The funds will be used specifically to help ODNR naturally reduce nutrient runoff and prevent algal blooms over the long term.”

ODNR’s H2Ohio projects create, restore, and enhance wetlands to filter water and reduce the phosphorus and nitrogen that feed harmful algal blooms and fuel hypoxia. The funding from OWDA will focus on advancing high-priority Maumee River and Western Lake Erie Basin H2Ohio projects including:

•           Maumee River floodplain and wetland restoration

•           Wetland enhancements and reconnections on Muddy Creek, a tributary to Sandusky Bay

•           Marsh restoration in the Blanchard River watershed

Expanding ODNR’s statewide project focus through: 

•           Wetland and stream restoration at Chippewa Lake

•           Floodplain wetland restoration along the Great Miami River

•           A wetland treatment train at Delaware Lake

The funds will also help extend H2Ohio’s wetland monitoring program.

“We are proud to have the backing from OWDA,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said.  “Continued investment in H2Ohio will allow the state to build on the program’s strong foundation leading to improved water quality and public health, job creation, and a sustainable economy.”

Launched by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019, H2Ohio is a collaborative water quality effort to provide clean and safe water to Ohio.  The ODNR, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency each has a significant role in H2Ohio through the natural infrastructure of wetlands, the reduction in nutrient runoff, and increasing access to clean drinking water and quality sewer systems. To learn more, go to h2.ohio.gov.

Boots on the ground for new wildlife officers

Twenty-three Natural Resource law enforcement officers have been sworn in by the ODNR Director Mary Mertz and many have assumed their county duties.  

“We are incredibly proud to call this impressive group of men and women natural

resources officers,” said Director Mertz. “They will be an essential part of the team

that protects visitors on both land and water at state properties across Ohio.” 

Natural resources officers have peacekeeping and enforcement responsibilities on

lands and waters owned or administered by ODNR. Officers enforce Ohio’s boating

laws, investigate allegations, protect state property, and make arrests. Officers also

conduct educational programs and serve as important contacts for visitors. Natural

resources officers may also render community assistance to state and local law

enforcement in the event of an emergency. 

“This year’s class were extraordinarily team-oriented and they showed a high level of

resilience and flexibility in all aspects of the rigid training process, despite the

challenges COVID-19 added to their training,” said Glen Cobb, Chief of ODNR’s

Division of Parks and Watercraft. “These officers will greatly enhance ODNR’s

statewide law enforcement operations.” 

The officers received their basic Peace Officer training earlier this summer and

graduated on July 24 from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy. They

also completed an additional four weeks of specialized training related to ODNR

operations. In addition to law enforcement procedures and agency policies, the cadets

received training in areas of ATV use, communications, vessel operation, advanced

firearms, and self-defense. 

The new officers will continue their training by working closely with experienced

officers in their assignment areas for the next several months.  

The new natural resource officers’ county of residence and ODNR assignment is:  

Timothy Arfons (Summit County) — West Branch State Park 

Thomas Bromagen (Lorain County) — Cleveland Field Office 

Heather Byers (Licking County) — Buckeye Lake State Park 

Alex Clapper (Portage County) — Buckeye Lake State Park 

Parker Deuley (Geauga County) — Mosquito Lake State Park 

Justin Edwards (Logan County) — Caesar Creek State Park 

Samantha Galvin (Lorain County) — Wingfoot State Park 

Michael Green (Lorain County) — Sandusky Field Office 

Cody Heft (Jackson County) — Shawnee State Park 

Brian Hopkins (Ottawa County) — East Harbor State Park 

Emily Kent (Union County) — Buck Creek State Park 

Morgan Little (Franklin County) — Deer Creek State Park 

Carlie Long (Ross County) — Rocky Fork State Park 

Kevin Maurer (Knox County) — Mohican State Park 

April Nickles (Washington County) — Mohican State Park 

Andrew Norcross (Huron County) — Sandusky Field Office 

Robert Prendergast (Franklin County) — Cleveland Field Office 

Jacob Rettenberger (Coshocton County — Salt Fork State Park 

Nathaniel Rouse (Medina County) — Findley State Park 

Erin Scott (Darke County) — East Harbor State Park 

D’Angelo Thigpen (Ross County) — Rocky Fork State Park  

Jonathan Tyma (Clermont County) — East Fork State Park 

Michael Weikert (Greene County) — Caesar Creek State Park  

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