April 21, 2017

Ohio Now Accepting Applications for Declining Pollinator Populations

COLUMBUS, OH, April 18, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a new conservation effort for Ohio agriculture producers to help combat future declines of honey bees and Monarch butterflies by providing food and habitat sources. Through May 19, producers may apply for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to plant cover crops, or plant milkweed, wildflowers, and native grasses in buffers and areas not in production.

More than 80 percent of the world’s plants need pollinators to survive, including many that provide the food we eat. But many pollinators like honey bees and Monarch butterflies are in trouble. That’s why NRCS works with private landowners to create food and habitat for pollinators on farms and in forests. In total, more than 3 dozen NRCS conservation practices provide benefits to pollinators.

For more information regarding the Honey Bee EQIP sign-up in Clermont or Brown County, contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov, or (513) 732-2181 ext. 3.

April 21, 2017

Ohio Now Accepting Applications for Declining Pollinator Populations

COLUMBUS, OH, April 18, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a new conservation effort for Ohio agriculture producers to help combat future declines of honey bees and Monarch butterflies by providing food and habitat sources. Through May 19, producers may apply for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to plant cover crops, or plant milkweed, wildflowers, and native grasses in buffers and areas not in production.

More than 80 percent of the world’s plants need pollinators to survive, including many that provide the food we eat. But many pollinators like honey bees and Monarch butterflies are in trouble. That’s why NRCS works with private landowners to create food and habitat for pollinators on farms and in forests. In total, more than 3 dozen NRCS conservation practices provide benefits to pollinators.

For more information regarding the Honey Bee EQIP sign-up in Clermont or Brown County, contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov, or (513) 732-2181 ext. 3.

March 6, 2017

What’s the Buzz with USDA?

The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay you to do something that benefits you and the rest of the world – enhance pollinator habitat on your land!

Pollinators are a crucial part of healthy agricultural and natural landscapes. More than 30% of our food crops are pollinated by insects. Pollinators are also needed by 90% of all flowering plants, which in turn support all wildlife.

You’ve probably heard that populations of honey bees, native bees, and monarch butterflies are all in rapid decline. You can help support them by planting pollinator habitat, which helps you in three ways. It improves crop yields, reduces soil erosion while protecting water quality in streams and ponds, and in some cases gives you free assistance and money to do these things.

Example of practices:
• Whole field pollinator planting or pollinator plots
• Cover crops
• Tree/shrub plantings
• Field borders
• Filter strips

If you are interested in finding out more information, send an email to Lori Lenhart, District Conservationist, or call her at 513-732-2181 x3. Plant pollinator habitat, every little bit helps!

Posted in: Pollinators, USDA
March 6, 2017

Ohio Pond Management Handbook

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife has an excellent Pond Management Handbook available online for those that own ponds. This free downloadable resource is a must have for pond owners. Inside you will find information regarding fish stocking, fish management, managing aquatic vegetation and other problems and solutions regarding pond health and management.

This handbook was made for the typical pond owner, easy to read, many pictures, and geared to issues found here in Ohio. This publication was updated in 2015.

Posted in: pond, Uncategorized
March 6, 2017

2017 Spring Litter Clean-Up is Saturday, April 22

Winning t-shirt design entry by Jenna Bellonby, Milford High School

Planning for the 2017 Spring Litter Clean-Up is in full swing and communities across Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River watershed are preparing to host groups of volunteers on Saturday, April 22, to help spruce up our local streams, lakes and parkland areas.

Earlier this year, the 3rd annual T-shirt Design Contest kick-started the event planning and over 181 students submitted designs to be included on the 2017 event t-shirt. This year’s winner is Jenna Bellonby, a 10th grader at Milford High School – congratulations, Jenna!

The Spring Litter Clean-Up is a combination of two events that have proved successful for more than 20 years in Clermont County – the East Fork River Sweep and Clermont Clean & Green events. This year’s event will be held 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, April 22nd, in various communities across the county and watershed.

Volunteers are needed! You can register individually, organize a school/scout group, or bring some neighborhood friends, to participate in this fun, worthwhile event! Protective gloves and trash bags will be provided. All volunteers will be given a picnic lunch and event t-shirt as a thank you for helping out. You can register online at: www.springlittercleanup.com.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to our event sponsors – the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR), the Clermont County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Duke Energy Foundation, and Lykins Energy Solutions.

We hope to see you on April 22nd!

March 6, 2017

Free Pond Clinic on April 4

If you own or are planning to build a pond, plan on attending the Clermont SWCD’s annual pond clinic on Tuesday April 4th at 6 p.m. The clinic is free and there will be door prizes!

Last year pond owners had to address issues such as fish kills, toxic algae, and stressed ponds
due to the severe winter and the summer storms in June and July. Come hear about restocking and aeration to best deal with fish survival throughout the year.

The clinic will be held in the Pattison Park Lodge at 2228 US Highway 50 just west of Owensville. The meeting will begin with some light refreshments provided by the Clermont County Farm Bureau at 6 p.m. Pond management experts will be presenting on various pond topics. The evening should wrap up around 8:30 with a question and answer session. Registration required-please call: 513-732-7075 ext– 102 to register.

Subjects to be discussed:

  • pond construction
  • aquatic weed control
  • fish stocking
  • aeration
  • nuisance wildlife control
  • stormwater retention basins
Posted in: pond
March 6, 2017

Deadline for Fertilizer Applicator Certification Quickly Approaching

In June, 2014, Governor Kasich signed the agricultural fertilizer applicator certification law (Senate Bill 150), requiring farmers who fertilizer to 50 acres or more to become certified by September 30, 2017. Anyone wishing to become certified must fill out an application form, pay an application fee, and attend a three hour training session. At this time, there is no exam. After September 2017, the process for obtaining a license may change, and it is possible that an exam will be part of the process in the future. Training sessions hosted by OSU Extension will be posted at http://nutrienteducation.osu.edu/trainingopportunities.

Under the certification law, fertilizer is considered to be any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. Lime and limestone are not considered fertilizers. All application types (broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing, etc.) are included in the certification requirement. The only application exempted is start-up fertilizers applied through a planter. All certifications will be valid for three years. After the deadline, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will conduct random record audits. For more information about the certification law, check ODA’s “Frequently Asked Questions on Senate Bill 150,” or call the Clermont OSU Extension Office at 732-7070.

March 6, 2017

US EPA Model Helps SWCD Focus Conservation Efforts

Predicted sediment loads for different areas in the Grassy Run watershed

Since 2008, Clermont SWCD and other members of the East Fork Watershed Cooperative have been working together to reduce nutrient and sediment levels in the East Fork Little Miami River and Harsha Lake. One Cooperative member – US EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) – has developed a water quality model that is making it easier for SWCD to focus our conservation efforts.

Using data collected by various members of the Cooperative, US EPA-ORD has developed and calibrated a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for the East Fork watershed. The SWAT model has been effective in predicting sediment and nutrient loads from different land uses, and also in predicting the impact that various management scenarios might have on reducing pollutant loads. Already, this model has helped Clermont SWCD with several projects.

In 2011, Clermont SWCD received a Conservation Innovation Grant that provided funds for a concentrated planting of cover crops in the Grassy Run Watershed. US EPA-ORD applied the SWAT model to help identify areas within the watershed which are prone to high soil erosion, and therefore good candidates for winter cover crops. Once these locations were known, SWCD staff and the NRCS District Conservationist were able to work with producers to secure commitments to plant cover crops in these fields for a period of three years.

More recently, Clermont SWCD received a Resource Conservation Partnership Program grant for additional conservation practices in the Harsha Lake watershed. For each application received, US EPA-ORD uses the SWAT model to predict nutrient loadings from that field. The fields with the highest loadings receive additional points in the ranking process, and receive additional consideration for funding assistance. In this way, SWCD and NRCS are able to use limited grant funds in areas where they are most needed.

Through its partnership with US EPA-ORD, Clermont SWCD hopes to continue to use the SWAT model as part of future programs so that we may focus conservation efforts where they are most needed.

January 9, 2017

NRCS accepting CSP applications through February 3

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.

CSP helps agricultural and forestry producers build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operations. Most that are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP offers more than 200 enhancements for those practices.

Once enrolled in CSP, the producer will have a one-on-one consultation with the NRCS conservation planner to evaluate the current operations and the natural resources on the property. Then the planner will determine if current activities meet stewardship eligibility, and will assist the producer in identifying additional enhancements to consider based on existing conservation practices, such as cover crops or precision agriculture. After the enhancements that best fit the operation are selected, CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing these activities on the land.

Applicants must have control of the land they want to enroll for a minimum of five years to be eligible. Producers interested in the program should contact the NRCS office prior to February 3, 2017. Additional information on the program is located at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp. Producers in Clermont and Brown Counties should contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, at (513) 732-2181 ext. 3, or by email at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.

November 28, 2016

Annual Meeting Celebrates 73 Years of Conservation

Over 100 friends of conservation turned out at Pattison Park on Sep­tember 8th for the 73rd Annual Meet­ing of the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District. The evening got underway with the election of one board supervisor and a tasty meal catered by Clermont Northeastern High School Food Ser­vices.

At the meeting several conserva­tion partners were recognized for the 2015-2016 achievements in the conservation field including Wolfer Farms of Jackson Township who were honored as the District’s Con­servation Cooperator of the Year.

Lisa Holt Taylor of Boyd E. Smith Elementary in Milford was awarded the District’s Outstanding Conserva­tion Teacher of the Year award. Lisa has worked for Milford Schools for 14 years where literacy was highly stressed in the curriculum. She began incorporating science in her litera­cy work so her students did not get cheated in this area.

In the 2015-2016 school year, Lisa worked with Clermont SWCD as she had her students design their own wa­tersheds and taught them the basics of monitoring stream quality (among many other environmental topics). She was also the lead teacher for seventy 3rdgraders in a five session project investigating the school yard’s habitat in conjunction with the Cincinnati Nature Center.

Award recipients were also recognized by the Clermont County Commissioners and the Ohio Congress with proclamations recognizing their accomplishments and dedication to promoting good land stewardship.

Guest speaker Ty Higgins of Farm and County radio show entertained guests with exploits of growing up on a farm and reported on the corn crop yields expected throughout the corn belt for this season.

The meeting concluded with some wonderful door prizes. The district would like to extend a special thank-you to all those individuals and businesses who donated funds or door prizes to help make the 2016 conservation banquet a great success.

Posted in: conservation