By: Susie Steffensen
There are a number of definitions for sustainability and ways to achieve it. For example, one definition is, “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Another, as it applies to nature is, “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.” For both of these definitions, steps taken now will determine the quality of life for future generations.
There are factors that play into the world’s ability to be sustainable, such as population growth…. energy usage….waste production… agricultural practices and deforestation…plastic use. Addressing these factors and implementing practices that reduce their effects on the environment is the goal, and everyone can do a little something to achieve this goal.
Recycling and reducing the use of single use plastic addresses the need to reduce waste. Turning down the thermostat, turning off lights, and reducing the hot water heater to 120° are ways to reduce energy consumption. Implementing best management practices such as precision agriculture, cover crops, and grassed waterways will improve water quality and help prevent erosion.
So if you are already taking action to help sustainability, thank you! Picking up litter, stopping erosion on your property, allowing weeds to grow in your yard… these things are so beneficial and don’t cost a thing. It might mean rearranging your priorities, but anything that benefits our natural world will benefit you in the long run.
For more information follow us on Facebook, as we will be posting additional ideas on ways to practice sustainable living.
In recent months, Clermont SWCD staff has responded to a variety of complaints regarding materials being emptied into a storm drain or ditch, including restaurant grease, concrete washout, wastewater from carpet cleaning and pet washing, paint and motor oil. Please remember that storm sewers do not lead to a treatment plant, but rather directly to a nearby waterway, and dumping anything other than water into a storm sewer is illegal.
If you have questions on how to properly dispose of an item, please contact us at 513-732-7075 ext. 3. If you witness an illegal dumping, use our Report a Spill page to find out how best to report it.
If you have an interest in learning more about the water quality in a nearby stream, you may want to consider becoming a volunteer water quality monitor. The Saturday Stream Snapshot (SSS) is a volunteer program run by Greenacres Foundation that researches the health of the Little Miami River watershed. Saturday Stream Snapshot takes place on the second Saturday of each month from March-November (11 am – 2 pm).
Volunteers are able to participate by collecting water samples from sites along the Little Miami or any of its tributaries and/or performing water quality analysis at the Water Quality Education Center in Milford. No previous water testing or lab experience is needed to participate! To learn more about the SSS program, please contact Emily Pickett at email@example.com or (513) 370-3662.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, March 20, 2020, as the deadline to submit applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or conservation practices.
Financial assistance is now available in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, forestry, pasture operations, and organic. Several projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more.
To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be farmers or farm or forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria. Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by March 20 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2020 funding.
Contact John Williams for additional information and to sign up at 513-877-3720.
At the end of January, Judy Krebs retired from Clermont SWCD after 31 years of service. When Judy started as the District’s first ever Education Specialist, she instituted the in-school education programs that continue to this day.
In recent years, Judy would present over 300 programs annually to local students on various topics related to soil and water conservation and litter prevention and recycling. During her tenure, Clermont SWCD was named the Ohio Conservation Education District of the Year in 2000 and 2010. Over 31 years, Judy has touched the lives of countless students and worked diligently over the years to instill a strong sense of environmental stewardship in Clermont County communities. Thank you for your service, Judy! You will be missed.
Lori Lenhart (left) has taken a new position within NRCS and will no longer be serving as the District Conservationist for Clermont and Brown Counties, a position she has held since 2007. She will be heading up an urban agricultural initiative in Cincinnati and will still be stationed in Owensville.
Jenna Swanson (right) served Clermont County as a Soil Conservationist since 2017 and has taken a similar position in her home state of Virginia.
We wish them both the best and appreciate the work they have provided during their stay in Clermont County.
Until further notice, please contact the Butler County NRCS office at 513-785-6660. Currently neither position has been filled. We will post new information on our website and Facebook page as it becomes available.
Over 100 friends of conservation turned out at the Clermont County Fairgrounds on September 12th for the 76th Annual Meeting of the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District.
The meeting got underway with the election of a new board supervisor and a tasty meal by Taste of the Good Life Catering.
Several partners were recognized for their achievements in the conservation field. Louise Gartner of Monroe Township was honored as the District’s Conservation Cooperator of the Year.
Meri Johnson was presented with the District’s Outstanding Conservation Teacher of the Year award.
Meri taught at Clermont Northeastern High School for 13 years and Batavia High School for nine years. During that time she taught biology, environmental science, outdoor science, physical science and more. In 1999, Meri was elected to our Board of Supervisors and served the District for 12 years. In 2003 she joined the Education Service Center as the County’s Science Curriculum Specialist. She currently works for Curriculum Engineering Inc. where she has trained hundreds of teachers in Ohio and been actively involved as a science education advisor for Clermont Northeastern schools, the Cincinnati Nature Center, several local universities, the Ohio Department of Education and the National Science Teachers Association.
The Clermont County Commissioners and the Ohio Congress and governor’s office presented the award recipients with proclamations recognizing their accomplishments and dedication to promoting good land stewardship.
Staff members were also recognized for their tenure on staff. Judy Krebs was recognized for 30 years and Becky McClatchey and Jake Hahn were both recognized for 10 years of service to the district.
The district would like to extend a special thank-you to all individuals and businesses who donated funds or door prizes to help make the 2019 conservation banquet a great success.
In the election held on September 12th, Connie won the seat on the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. Connie is Director of Education for the Cincinnati Nature Center, where she has worked for the past 24 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Macalester College in St Paul, MN and her masters in natural resources from University of Wisconsin. She is a Certified Interpretive Planner with the National Association for Interpretation.
Her term will begin January 1, 2020 and run through 2022.
Congratulations Connie, and thank you for serving your conservation district!
Clermont SWCD would like to express our appreciation of the following individuals, businesses and organizations for their support through donations to the 76th Anniversary Celebration and other district events:
At its Annual Meeting on September 12, Clermont SWCD named Louise Gartner its 2019 Cooperator of the Year. In two short years, Louise has gone from a small vegetable garden to raising organic crops under four high tunnels. Not only did she dive right into farming on her five-acre plot of land, just north of the Ohio River in Clermont County, she has done it successfully while having a full-time job. And like the myriad of her vegetables, her operation is still growing as well. She plans to construct two more large high tunnels in the near future to further expand her beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, and zucchini production.
Louise has worked with NRCS to implement other sustainability practices such as cover crops, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and a drainage system around the high tunnels to further improve her operation. She now has a very productive operation, selling to a local food Co-op based out of Cincinnati, as well as an upper-end grocery store chain.
Louise also devotes her time to educating and training others. She has hosted various educational tours for groups such as: National Farm to Table Conference and the Turner Farm who has a Veteran to Farmer Training Program.
The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District commends Louise for her stewardship efforts, growing food for her local community while protecting the land and valuable natural resources of the county.