Division of Wildlife set to move research unit to Columbus
Delaware, Ohio — Despite controversy regarding its economic necessity, a move of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Olentangy Research Station is still a “go.”
The 10-person wildlife management scientific unit is set to relocate to the Wildlife Division’s building located within the massive Ohio DNR’s Fountain Square complex in Columbus. This arrangement is expected to be completed sometime in mid-August, says a departmental spokesman.
Wildlife scientists with the Olentangy unit in Delaware are tasked with studying a wide range of species. Among them are wild turkey, white-tail deer, upland game and non-game, waterfowl, fur-bearers, trumpeter swans, barn owls, and several others.
This unit is not the same as that with the state Geological Survey Division’s Horrace Collins Seismic Center, which operates out of Alum Creek State Park.
“The move from Olentangy Station to Fountain Square will actually be a cost-neutral move for Wildlife,” said Natural Resources spokesman Matt Eiselstein. “The division incurred total costs of $47,890 in Fiscal Year 2018 to rent, operate and maintain the Olentangy Station. The cost in Fiscal Year 2019 is estimated to be nearly identical.”
Thus, the move is intended to consolidate the Wildlife Division’s wildlife management research and bring closer to administrators those scientists who conduct such studies.
Yet the move is not without critics, including Jim Abrams, a now-retired Wildlife Division official.
Abrams says the cost to rent the Delaware facility is only $25,000 annually while the so-called “charge-back” fee (an accounting metric that incorporates such things as expenses for operations) will actually amount to $200,000 annually. This money will go to the parent Natural Resources Department via debiting the Wildlife Division’s Wildlife Fund, Abrams says.
“The cost to purchase the existing facility in Delaware: $300,000,” Abrams said.