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.

Having Fun with Pond Management

by Jake Hahn, SWCD Technician

In these times of COVID-19, I have decided to write a fun article that will keep you busy and answer questions about your pond, while keeping to the social distancing. I visit many ponds each year throughout the county and assist land owners and pond managers with many problems they may be having including algae, pond leaks, pond construction and fish kills, most of which are not fun for the landowner to address. I often am asked how do I know if I have a healthy hatchery, or how sustainable is the fish population years after stocking? Not questions I can answer in an assessment, but here is where the fun begins.

People install a pond on their property for many different reasons, including recreation, aesthetics, water management, or maybe just to mow less grass. Whatever the reason, I am amazed at how little many of these ponds are fished. To accurately understand what is happening under the water you have to get in there with a hook and bobber to find out.

Keeping records of the type, size, and quantity of fish caught over time will let you know how your fish are doing. Are they getting larger? Are you catching as many bass as you once were? Are you seeing small fish due to reproduction? You can then use those numbers to make management decisions on your fishery. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has an excellent pond management publication available online that has tips to manage your fishery and includes a diary page example for keeping records.

So let the fun begin and get the kids, grandkids, and big kids at heart out doing some “pond inventory work.” This is a great way to get kids outdoors as they try to outfish their previous outing or for them to learn natural resources management and record keeping. So go out, be active, social distance and have fun.

Welcome the New Staff in our Office!

Kat Zelak, SWCD Education Coordinator

Hello, my name is Kat Zelak and I am looking forward to serving you as your Education Coordinator. I grew up in Rochester, NY and have called Cincinnati home for the last 3 years. In 2014, I completed two B.S. degrees from Cornell University in animal science and natural resources and in 2018, a M.S. degree from the Ohio State University in agriculture and extension education. In my free time I love to take backpacking trips, knit, and play ice hockey. I’m excited to learn more about your programming needs and work with you all in the future. If you have any recommendations for future programming or feedback about the programs we currently offer, please do not hesitate to contact me at kzelak@clermontcountyohio.gov.

 

Brittany McAdams, NRCS Soil Conservationist

My name is Brittany McAdams and I am the new soil conservationist for Clermont and Brown Counties. I originally hail from Aurora, IN, which is right across the IN/OH state line in Dearborn County. I earned my B.S. in natural resources from Purdue University and my M.S. in soil science from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For the past two years I worked as a land manager and educator for a parks district in Carmel, Indiana. When I’m not working as a soil con, I am an avid birder, and spend a lot of my time hiking in the beautiful woodlands of southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky. I am very excited to be joining the NRCS team and become a part of the Clermont and Brown County community.

Sustainability… What Is It?

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.

Storm Sewers Flow to the River

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.

Greenacres Foundation Looking for Citizen Help

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 epickett@green-acres.org or (513) 370-3662.

Connie O’Connor Elected to Board of Supervisors

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!

What Exactly is Nutrient Management?

Nutrient management is not always a conservation practice that one can visually see in the field, but more of a management change. The goal of this practice is to reduce the amount of nutrient loss into our waterways with science based fertilizer/manure application rates based on crop needs and soils. This practice follows the 4-R’s of nutrient management; the right source, right rate, right time, and right place.

Producers follow guidelines to safely apply their nutrients in a sustainable manner. This may include updated soil testing, variable rate applications, no surface applications on frozen or snow covered grounds, limited fall nitrogen applications and nutrient applications that follow the Tri-State Fertility Guide recommendations to name a few.

The end results is economical crop yields, decreased amount of nutrient loss, and enhanced water quality. This practice provides a written plan for producers to follow for their farms’ specific needs. The end result is greening up our fields and not our lakes and rivers.