Wildlife Conservation

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Conservation Habitats

I want to attract wildlife to my property. What is the easiest species to attract and manage?

If your property includes grassy areas mixed with a few trees, one should consider managing for Eastern Bluebirds. They will readily accept a properly constructed bluebird house and reward you with their presence. For more information on bluebirds, check out the Ohio Bluebird Society or North American Bluebird Society.

I noticed some black spots on the leaves of a tree in my backyard. What kind of tree is it? What's causing the spots? How can I treat it?

Need help with tree identification? View Ohio's tree species at Ohio Division of Forestry. For questions on tree pathology and diseases, contact the Union County OSU Extension Service.

What options do I have to enhance my property as wildlife habitat?

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offers cost share to landowners for converting highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buffers. CRP reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) encourages creation of high quality wildlife habitat, such as wetlands and native prairies, on private land. Through WHIP, technical and financial assistance are offered to landowners to develop upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat areas on their property.

Even if your land is dotted with trees, spongy with wet areas, or spanned by cropfields, there are options for creating habitat:

Here is  a list of people that deal with Private Land Management

Here are some additional ideas on how to Enhance Wildlife Habitat on Farmlands.

Don't have a lot of land to enroll in one of the programs mentioned above?
Click here for more ways to enhance wildlife habitat in your suburban or urban backyard.

Am I a candidate for the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program?

The CAUV program is a differential real estate tax assessment program that provides farmland owners with the opportunity to have their parcels taxed according to their value in agriculture, rather than full market value. The landowner must devote at least ten acres exclusively to agriculture. CAUV may help preserve farmland and/or open space, and promotes long-term natural resources services such as wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge or flood mitigation.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administer federal cost-share conservation programs in Union County. Conservation practices are intended for working agricultural lands in order to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality. Eligibility for conservation programs may include the following:

One year ownership of the land
Documented cropping history
Landowners must pay up-front costs of practice establishment until cost-share reimbursement is made following establishment

To determine if you are eligible for a conservation program, call the Farm Service Agency at (937) 642-6741 or (937) 642-5833. A deed copy is helpful and often required. Next, arrange a visit next door at the Natural Resources Conservation Service to explore the feasibility of establishing site-specific conservation practices on your land. Finally, once an eligible conservation practice plan is written and the practice established, visit the Union County Auditor's office to share details of the conservation plan. This will ensure that current property records are acurate.

Where can I view wildife or different habitats in Union County?

Located in southeast Union County, Glacier Ridge is the newest Metro Park addition in central Ohio. The 1,038 acre park opened in summer 2004 and boasts a restored 200-acre wetland area and a habitat mix of old forest, field, and grassland for optimal wildlife viewing. Four trails wind across 11 miles of the park, where visitors can traverse a boardwalk through the wetlands or climb a 25-foot observation tower to see waterfowl and other animals.
The City of Marysville has 15 parks which encompass 331.5 acres. Trails wind along the riparian corridor of Mill Creek and offer the best opportunities for bird and waterfowl viewing at McCarthy Park, Mill Creek Park, Mill Valley Park, and Schwartzkopf Park. In 2003, 218 trees were planted along the riparian corridor of Mill Valley Park as part of the Mill Creek Reforestation Project.

In northern Union County, Richwood Lake Park attracts a variety of birds and waterfowl throughout the year. Fishing and a rentable shelter house are also amenities of the park.