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.