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Friday, October 26, 2018  
BGSU researchers explore dredge’s farm potential | University again named tops for veterans
Working together are (left to right) Shannon Pelini, Angélica Vázquez-Ortega and Louise Stevenson.
BGSU researchers hope to turn dredge into useful resource for farmers

Northwest Ohio is on the clock. By mid-year 2020, a long-held practice on Lake Erie will come to an end.

Each year, eight Ohio harbors along the Lake Erie coast are dredged to keep shipping channels open, with 25 percent coming from Toledo Harbor, according to the Ohio EPA. The dredged material is dumped in the open waters of Lake Erie, which has been standard practice for some time. That practice, thanks to Ohio Senate Bill 1, passed in 2015, will come to an end on July 1, 2020.

Three researchers from Bowling Green State University and another from Wright State University have been tasked to come up with an agricultural solution to how to use the displaced dredge. 

BGSU’s Drs. Shannon Pelini, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences; Louise Stevenson, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences; Angélica Vázquez-Ortega, assistant professor in the School of Earth, Environment and Society; and Wright State University's Dr. Megan Rúa, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, are teaming up on two Ohio EPA grants to study the effects of dredge on crops. Each grant is worth $50,000 and funded through the Lake Erie Protection Fund.

The researchers want to determine if dredge offers any benefits in terms of nutrients such as cost savings on fertilizer and good soil health. Also, they want to ascertain if dredge introduces additional contaminants into food chains and the environments compared to native soils. Other goals include identifying the appropriate native topsoil to dredged material ratio to achieve the best corn crop yield; determining the benefits of amended soils with dredged material on corn crop yield; identifying the correct fertilizer (phosphate) addition to corn crops, if any, when farms’ soils are amended with dredged material; determining nutrient, metal and organic contaminants' (such as PCBs or PAHs) release into soil solution when using dredged material; profiling impacts on abundance, identity and functioning in soil fauna such as bacteria, fungi and invertebrates; and determining metal and organic contaminant bioaccumulation in crops and invertebrates in farm soils amended with dredged material.

“We’re combining the grants to work together because we all have different expertise,” Stevenson said. “The strategies of the two grants complement each other really well.”


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BGSU once again named a top university in Ohio for veterans

Bowling Green State University was once again named one of the top universities in Ohio for veterans by the Military Times.   

Military Times ranked BGSU 66th out of 208 four-year institutions in the nation in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2019 rankings, recognizing the University as one of the top academic choices in the country for veterans and active-duty military personnel.  

In their ninth year, the rankings are based on the results of Military Times’ annual survey — a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement — as well as a detailed review of public data collected by federal agencies.  

To bolster BGSU’s support of military students, the Office of Nontraditional and Military Student Services recently received a $1 million gift from William Downing Sr. and his late wife, Joan, both Class of 1957, to provide scholarships for student-veterans, enabling them to continue their education when their GI Bill funding runs out.  

To honor their substantial gift, the existing veterans center in the College Park Office Building, which opened in 2017, was recently renamed the William and Joan Downing Military and Veteran Center.   

“The military and BGSU were both pivotal institutions in shaping our lives,” Downing said. “We want part of our legacy to be about helping young men and women who are present-day products of these same admirable institutions.”  

The Downings’ transformational gift has the potential to touch many lives. Today, the University has more than 600 military-affiliated students from all branches of the service, said Dr. Barbara Henry, assistant vice president of Nontraditional and Military Student Services at BGSU. About 43 percent are veterans, and 57 percent are serving in the Ohio National Guard, Reserves and/or are on active duty.  

As is true for all Military Times rankings, Best for Vets: Colleges is an editorially independent, objective and rigorous news project. This feature evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. About 500 colleges took part in this year’s survey.