The Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District will take orders for barley straw and bluebird nesting boxes until Oct. 23.
The barley straw and nesting boxes will be distributed from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 30.
If algae is taking over your pond, you may want to consider applying barley straw to help stop the growth of new algae cells, according to a news release. Large quantities of algae can be harmful for livestock consumption and can also cause severe winter fish kills as oxygen is depleted during decomposition of algae blooms in the fall, according to the release.
The use of barley straw to improve water clarity has proved to be successful, as many landowners from various counties continue to use this method, according to the release.
Fall and spring applications are recommended because water temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees are needed for the barley straw to be effective.
In many areas, the bluebird has faced a loss of natural nesting habitat. Reasons suggested for this decline include severe winters, harmful effects from the use of pesticides and competition with other hole nesters for increasingly scarce nest sites, according to the release. Recent efforts to promote the establishment of new nesting boxes have been successful.
Fall is a good time to get your bluebird nesting boxes in place before winter arrives, according to the release. Bluebirds start looking for breeding nesting boxes mid-February at the earliest and on into June at the latest. Nesting boxes should be in an open space such as a large lawn or an orchard away from houses, barns and thick clumps of trees, according to the release. They may be placed on fence posts, garden U-posts and metal posts at least three feet above the ground. A box mounted four to five feet high is ideal, according to the release.
To place an order, or for more information, contact the SWCD office at 866-2520, ext. 3. Order forms are also available online at www.herkimercountyswcd.com