Is Stocking Catfish Beneficial to my Pond?

Channel Catfish is the fish of choice when stocking a small farm pond with catfish and they are great fun to catch. They are a great predator fish because they do not interfere with the management of your other fish, meaning they pair well with other predator fish such as bass. These catfish are bottom feeders that eat insects, invertebrates, fish and sometimes aquatic plants. A pond that is shallow could be muddied as catfish forage the bottom.

Channel catfish can grow up to 15 inches in a small pond within 5 years. You may increase this rate with periodic stocking of bait fish or by feeding fish pellets, which they can easily be trained to eat. They are not self-sustaining in most ponds because they require cavities to spawn. Structures to mimic cavities can be added to the pond or fish can be periodically restocked.

Many people stock their ponds from other sources where fish are harvested in the wild. However, it is recommended to purchase your fish through a certified hatchery to minimize the risk of contaminating your pond with diseased fish, thus ruining your fishery. Check out local hatcheries where fish can be purchased. Bullhead, flathead and blue catfish are either undesirable in small ponds or are not suited to the type/size of environment. Contact our office at 513-732-7075 or our website for additional advice on pond management.

Williamsburg Wetland Restoration Project Planned

As nutrient-driven harmful algal blooms continue to occur each year on East Fork Lake, Clermont SWCD remains focused on eff orts to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the lake. Recently, the District has been awarded four separate grants totaling $518,950 to construct nutrient removal wetland treatment systems, which studies have shown to be extremely efficient in removing these nutrients. Two grants were provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and individual grants were awarded by the Duke Energy Foundation and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ H2Ohio program.

Clermont SWCD will construct the first wetland treatment system at the site of the old Williamsburg reservoir, which borders the East Fork Little Miami River just upstream of the village. In 2018, Clermont SWCD partnered with Williamsburg to remove the old low-head dam and drain the 3-acre reservoir which was no longer used by the village as a source of drinking water. Under this project, modifications will be made to the floodplain and reservoir which will allow water from the East Fork to fill the reservoir during high flows. The water will then drain slowly from the reservoir into the constructed wetland, where sediment and nutrients will settle out before the filtered water re-enters the river. Clermont County’s Office of Environmental Quality will monitor the water quality as it enters and leaves the wetland to assess the efficiency of the system.  In addition to the expected water quality benefits, the wetland will also provide quality habitat for native fish, mussels, migratory birds and other wildlife.

The project is currently in the design phase and we hope to begin construction in the fall of 2021. Watch our website and Facebook page for updates on this exciting project.

Thanks to our 2020 Cooperators!

Thanks to all our Cooperators for all the conservation best management practices installed this year!

Doug Auxier Nutrient Management, Cover Crops
Thomas Borchers Nutrient Management
Lynn Buede Grasslands Initiative
David Church Grasslands Initiative
Cornwell Family Partnership Nutrient Management (4), AgChem Handling Facility, Access Road
E. Wiederhold Farms LLC. Nutrient Management
Jennifer Ebbing Heavy Use Protection, Underground Outlet
Jeannette Garrison Heavy Use Protection
Louise Gartner High Tunnel (3), Roof Runoff Structure (2), Subsurface Drain
Rebecca Geiger Conservation Cover (2)
Charles Grant Nutrient Management
Jason Grant Nutrient Management (2)
James Grosnickle Nutrient Management
Ted Hollaender Nutrient Management, Cover Crops
John Johnson Nutrient Management Plan
Aaron Knorr Brush Management (3)
L&L Farm Holdings LLC Roof and Cover, Livestock Pipeline, Prescribed Grazing, Access Road, Heavy Use Protection, Watering Facility, Underground Outlet, Waste Storage Facility
League for Animal Welfare Brush Management
James Liming Nutrient Management Plan, Fence, Access Road
Christopher Lockey Brush Management, Herbaceous Weed Control, Tree/Site Preparation
Michelle McClain Critical Area Planting, Mulching, Brush Management, Forage Planting
James Metzger Forest Stand Improvement (3)
Jeremy Myers Nutrient Management
Theresa Napier Nutrient Management Plan
John Stahl Cover Crops (2)
Robert Stahl Nutrient Management, Cover Crops
Jason Tolliver Brush Management (2), Herbaceous Weed Control, Tree/Shrub Establishment, Forest Stand Improvement
Collander S. Turner Conservation Cover
Varick Family Trust Brush Management (3), Herbaceous Weed Treatment
David Werring Nutrient Management (2)
Wolfer Farms Cover Crops (3)

(x)- Number of practices completed

Tim Rose & Dave Anspach Elected to Board of Supervisors

In the election held September 26 – October 9, Tim Rose was elected to a first term and Dave Anspach was re-elected for a sixth term on the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors.

Tim is a lifetime resident of Clermont County and the third generation Rose to operate Ohio Pike Farms in Bethel. Dave has served on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and Clermont County Park Board since 1999.

Their terms will begin January 1, 2021 and run through 2023. Congratulations Tim and Dave, and thank you for serving your conservation district!

Pictured:

Dave Anspach, top right

Tim Rose and family, bottom right

Connecting with Nature When Life Gets Busy

by Kristin Stratman

Fair Oak Park, November 2020

The weather is getting colder – and somehow, life seems busier than it did before we had to fear catching or spreading a deadly virus. But no matter how chilly the weather is or how busy your schedule gets, it can help to squeeze in some routine time outdoors.

I spoke with Robin Green, a naturalist at the Clermont County Parks District, about the importance of developing a relationship with nature. “It’s really easy to get busy in your life and lose that connection to nature even though, at least in Clermont County, it’s a little easier to find nature,” said Green, “A lot of people can just go out in their yard and find nature pretty easily.”

Time spent in nature can help prevent or even resolve certain health issues. The 2020 Community Health Assessment released by Clermont County Public Health shows that cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity are all public health concerns in Clermont County. A survey described in the report also showed that around a quarter of respondents in the county felt down, depressed, or hopeless and almost a third had symptoms of anxiety. All of these health problems might be alleviated by spending time outside.

In the current pandemic, many of our usual activities, like eating out at restaurants and going to movie theatres, are frowned upon. Spending time outdoors is both healthy and socially-responsible. And you don’t need to go far to get your nature fix: Clermont County is home to more than sixty greenspaces, parks, and nature preserves. Call up a friend to go on a socially-distanced nature hike or get a head start on your New Year’s fitness resolution. Green also suggests finding a “sit spot”, an outdoor location where you return to and observe your surroundings for a set period of time, when you need some peace in your life.

“What I find is you get really meditative,” says Green, “you start noticing things about nature and feeling connected just spending that short time in that spot.” No matter how you decide to bring nature into your life, your body and mind will thank you.

Kristin Stratman, a freelance journalist and Clermont County native, is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Biology through Miami University’s Project Dragonfly Program.

2021 Spring Litter Clean-Up Planning Underway

Did you know that while people litter both large and small items at recreational areas, the source of most litter found at parks, beaches and open spaces is pedestrians? (Keep America Beautiful) Clermont SWCD and the Valley View Foundation are once again teaming up to host the annual Spring Litter Clean-Up – an all-volunteer event focused on litter removal and prevention in Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River (EFLMR) watershed.  We invite students, families, scouts, civic groups, local business and individuals to “Fight Dirty” and participate in this worth-while community event!  Details will be posted on the event website: www.springlittercleanup.com. Stay tuned!

Steve Phillips Retires from Board of Supervisors

Steve Phillips has been a great asset to the Soil & Water Conservation board, and after 12 years of service, we bid him a fond farewell. He has always reached out for new ideas on farming, and is willing to try different approaches.  His interest and passion for sustainable farming brought a new perspective to our board, and by working closely with NRCS, he has implemented many projects to support these beliefs. He has been a pleasure to work with and we consider him not only a coworker, but a friend. He engages the agricultural community and agencies to learn and also share his experiences in his diverse operation, which has been a great benefit to Clermont SWCD board and employees, and to NRCS.  Thank you, Steve… you will be greatly missed!

2020 “Summer” Litter Clean-Up

Thank you to all of the volunteers that participated in the 2020 “Summer” Litter Clean-Up (SLC)! This year’s event was a virtual, ‘Do-It-Yourself’ event during the month of July. Volunteers were encouraged to find nearby areas, streams and parks in need of litter removal. Over 115 people registered to participate this year. Every little bit of trash collected makes a big difference! Roadways and streams are the areas most plagued with trash and debris.

According to Keep Ohio Beautiful, the yearly estimates for roadside litter in Ohio is over 12 tons (or, 51.2 billion pieces of trash), with cigarettes being the most problematic. Much of this trash originates from motorists and ends up washing into storm drains and streams. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon to find dumping areas near streams and lakes, where items such as old appliances or car parts are irresponsibly discarded. Events like the SLC and the upcoming Ohio River Sweep are so important for communities to take action to clean up unsightly trash and work towards litter prevention.

Clermont SWCD and the Valley View Foundation would like to extend a special thank you to the event sponsors: Duke Energy Foundation, Southern Ohio Association of Realtors and the Clermont County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Thank you also to the local businesses that donated prizes for the volunteers who reported their activities: Lykins Energy Solutions, Chick-fil-A (Milford), Chipotle, AMC Movies, Shell Gas, Cincinnati Nature Center and the Clermont County Park District. We’re looking forward to SLC 2021!

P.S. Check out some of fun pictures sent in by our volunteers! https://www.springlittercleanup.com/

Christina Gates Joins Clermont and Brown NRCS

Hello everyone! My name is Christina Gates and I am the new District Conservationist for Clermont and Brown Counties. I have just made the move to Ohio NRCS after working with Indiana NRCS for the last 3 ½ years and spent 2 ½ years prior to that with Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District.

I am a Purdue University-Ag Economics alumnus and after being in the ag industry post-graduation, decided that I would like to have a career in conservation. At Shelby County SWCD I was the Natural Resource Specialist and wrote a Watershed Management Plan for The Lower Big Blue River (HUC-10) under the EPA Section 319 Grant. In 2016 I started as a Soil Conservationist with NRCS in Greencastle, Indiana and in 2019 became a District Conservationist in Greene County, Indiana.

Outside of work I enjoy the outdoors—boating, fishing, racing, hiking, concerts, and most recently shopping at Lowe’s for new homeowner DIY projects. I am very excited to have the opportunity to join Ohio NRCS—to grow, learn, become involved, and share my knowledge of conservation!

Ohio “Mini-River Sweep” Taking Place Until November 15, 2020

Due to the pandemic, safety concerns for the coordinators and volunteers prohibit the large groups of volunteers that ORSANCO’s Ohio River Sweep typically hosts. Despite these challenges, individuals, families and small groups may volunteer to do their own “mini-River Sweep” cleanups. These groups of 10 people or fewer can contact Penny Greenler, Clermont County’s River Sweep Coordinator, to sign-up for this event.

If you want to conduct your own river sweep, you will be supplied with a t-shirt and gloves (as long as supplies last) and lots of garbage bags.

Just follow these steps!!

  1. Email Peggy Greenler at Riversweep2020@gmail.com to register
  2. Sign the waiver at www.orsanco.org/ohio-river-sweep-volunteer-waiver/
  3. Properly throw away litter
  4. Take photos and email to Riversweep2020@gmail.com

We hope that this year’s Sweep can be conducted and fulfill its mission in this creative way, and continue engaging citizens in the importance of cleaning and protecting the Ohio River which is a valuable natural resource.