USACE Releases Proposed Changes to National Wetland Plant List

On March 24, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a Public Notice for proposed changes to the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The USACE is proposing wetland rating changes or additions to 27 species and 48 regional ratings (some species were reviewed in multiple regions). The public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes. Comments must be submitted on or before May 24, 2021. Click here to read the entire Public Notice.

Honoring Frederica Marie “Freda” Detmers during Women’s History Month

Photo credit: The Ohio State University Archives
As Women’s History Month draws to a close, the Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) would like to recognize the many accomplishments of women in science throughout the years. From the discovery of radiation to the invention of Kevlar and sending us to the moon, women from around the world have played a significant and often overlooked role. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize one such trailblazer who came from right here in Ohio and her work from more than 100 years ago continues to help us still today.

Frederica Marie “Freda” Detmers (1867-1934) was a Buckeye, through and through. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1887 and in 1891 she received the first master’s degree presented by the Department of Botany that was based on research with plant pathogens from The Ohio State University (OSU). In 1889, Freda became the first woman to hold a research position for the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station (OAES), a position she held until 1892. She went on to teach science and German at North High School in Columbus from 1893 to 1906.She returned to OSU in 1906 as an instructor in the Department of Botany. Freda earned her Ph.D. in 1912 (the second doctoral degree granted by OSU’s Department of Botany), became an assistant professor and ultimately returned to OAES in 1918, becoming an assistant botanist. Eventually, she left Ohio in 1927 to become the curator of the University of Southern California herbarium.

In March 1930, she was injured in a fall during a botanical collecting trip in southern California. She later died in 1934 at the age of 67.

A true pioneer, she was credited with many firsts including:
• Her masters thesis on rust fungi of Ohio was the first in the field of plant pathology at OSU.
• She was the first scientist with a Ph.D. hired on the Wooster campus with responsibilities in the area of plant pathology.
• She was the first woman in Ohio to hold a position entirely devoted to botanical research.

During her life, Dr. Detmers published at least 28 technical papers and articles including her Ph.D. dissertation, An Ecological Study of Buckeye Lake: A Contribution to the Phytogeography of Ohio, which is a comprehensive study combining data from floristic, ecological and other viewpoints – the first such study to combine these topics into one presentation. Through her life’s work, we were left with a better understanding of our state’s ecology, particularly of the Buckeye Lake region. Her dissertation included a compilation of historical records that provides great insight into the plant community that formerly existed in this area. These details will help S+W develop an ecologically appropriate habitat restoration plan for its project located within the former Bloody Run Swamp.

The Bloody Run Swamp was a large marsh located in Union Township of Licking County, a couple miles northwest of present-day Buckeye Lake. In 2019, S+W acquired an 82-acre parcel located within the footprint of the former 600+/- acre marsh. Restoration of this small part of the former Bloody Run Swamp will take place over the next few years. Please look for updates and additional historical details of this important habitat restoration project going forward.

We would like to give a special thank you to The Ohio State University Archives for their permission to use these images of Dr. Detmers.
Photo credit: The Ohio State University Archives

Stream + Wetlands Supports Outdoor Education Program at University of Akron

Photo credit: Dr. Lara Roketenetz, University of Akron Field Station

Outdoor learning and access to nature provides positive benefits for people of all ages. Most of these programs are provided by nature centers, outdoor-science schools, parks and zoos. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the survival of programs that provide outdoor environmental and science education as well. 

Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) Board of Trustees has recently made a three-year commitment to support the environmental education program at the University of Akron Field Station at Bath Nature Preserve. Established in 1998, the mission of The University of Akron Field Station (UAFS) is to serve the needs of the people of northeastern Ohio through research, education, and service that promotes a better understanding of our relationship with the natural environment. 

“We are pleased to help support the work of Dr. Roketenetz and the UAFS at Bath Nature Preserve,” said S+W President Vince Messerly. “Outdoor learning experiences, particularly ones that promote the importance of wetlands, engage students and encourage positive attitudes about our environment.” 

“For the last five years, we have had the pleasure of hosting more than 4,000 students from northeast Ohio on field trips to the University of Akron Field Station, as well as conducting classroom visits for an additional 4,500 students so that they can learn about nature, biomimicry, wetlands and conservation,” says Field Station Manager Lara Roketenetz, Ph.D. ”This generous and sustained support from S+W will allow us to continue to offer these important environmental education experiences to our local schools at no charge.”

S+W’s contribution will help the University of Akron Foundation develop an outdoor learning center at the Bath Nature Preserve and provide continuing support for environmental education programs for urban and rural K-12 students in the region.

“This (gift) removes a very real financial hardship and burden for many of our partner school districts, which might otherwise prevent their learners from having access to quality nature-based experiential learning,” Roketenetz continued. “We are very grateful for the S+W donation and can’t wait to continue our important work!”

Situated on the 411-acre Bath Nature Preserve, the UAFS is located between Cleveland Akron/Canton. The facility is among the largest terrestrial ecology field stations in Ohio.

Ohio EPA Finalizes 401 WQC for 2021 NWPs

On March 4, the Ohio EPA finalized the 401 Water Quality Certifications (WQC) and Response to Comments for the 2021 Nationwide Permits published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, 2021. The 2021 Nationwide Permits are effective from March 15, 2021 through March 15, 2026. The final version, issued by the Army Corps, only included Nationwide Permits for 16 activities. The other 40 Nationwide Permits will remain under the 2017 conditions until their expiration on March 18, 2022. For more information, visit the Ohio EPA website here.