Clermont SWCD Cooperator of the Year – The Village of Williamsburg

Clermont SWCD is pleased to honor the Village of the Williamsburg with the 2020 Cooperator of the Year award.  The recipient of this award is selected each year based on the eff orts of an individual, group or organization that demonstrates environmental stewardship and works to protect Clermont County’s natural resources.   The Village of Williamsburg has been an exemplary watershed steward by supporting and facilitating efforts to restore and protect the East Fork Little Miami River (EFLMR) with two signature projects.

In 2018, the Village worked with local partners through a grant provided by Ohio EPA to remove a low-head dam and restore a significant segment of the EFLMR.  Built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project to supply drinking water, the dam posed a significant threat to public safety and the river ecosystem. The first steps were taken in October 2018, when the dam was notched to slowly release water downstream. As the river level receded, 58 volunteers helped the project team collect and relocate over 700 freshwater mussels that live in the river bed. Some of these were relocated upstream, while others were relocated to Mill Creek in Cincinnati in an attempt to re-establish a healthy mussel population.  Full removal of the dam and stream restoration culminated in November and a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the project completion and hard work contributed by the many project partners.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony – (pictured above) Clermont County Commissioner David Painter and Mayor Mary Ann Lefker (center); Rep. Doug Green – OH District 66 (right of Mayor Lefker); Susan Ellerhorst, Village Administrator (far right); representatives from Clermont SWCD, Clermont County Park District, Wood Environmental, and Ohio EPA.

Clermont SWCD and the Village of Williamsburg are partnering again to complete a second watershed project in the area, which utilizes the 3 acre drinking water reservoir formerly connected to the dam.  The plan is to convert the abandoned reservoir into an off-channel wetland that will not only provide quality habitat for fish, migratory birds and other species, but will also absorb flood waters and help to filter pollutants out of the river.  Design plans for this project are underway.

On behalf of the Clermont SWCD Board of Supervisors and all of the East Fork Watershed Collaborative partners, we thank the Village of Williamsburg for their dedication to restoring and protecting Clermont County’s resources.