A series of videos are in the works by our office to assist landowners in making management decisions on their ponds. These short videos will contain the basics of pond management here in our county and address some of the most common problems and questions our office receives calls on. These will be released as they are completed and will supplement our annual pond clinic. As always, we still offer free onsite consultations to your pond management and pond construction needs. You can also check out our website for additional educational pond material.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s (ORANSCO) Ohio River Sweep 2021 will be held on June 19, 2021 from 9 am to noon as part of the Summer Litter Clean-up month long event. The annual volunteer cleanup extends the along the entire river and is a great volunteer opportunity for groups and individuals. The event includes cleanups in New Richmond, Neville and Moscow. For more information and registration, contact Penny at OhioRiverSweep@gmail.com.
Please join us in welcoming Connie Miller as the new SWCD Executive Assistant. Connie started work in April, and comes to us from the Clermont County Water Resources Department, where she served as the Executive Assistant and Office manager for 12 years. Before that, she worked for seven years at the Clermont County Law Library. Connie grew up on a small family farm in Brown County, and is excited to have the chance to work with the agricultural community.
After 21 years of serving as Clermont SWCD’s administrative assistant, Susie Steffensen retired on May 28. Susie began her career in April 2001, and quickly made substantial improvements to the District’s accounting system. Before long, administrative assistants from SWCDs across the state would turn to her for guidance. Along with maintaining the District’s finances, Susie was always eager to take on additional duties, such as assisting with pollution abatement complaints, stream sampling and maintenance of monitoring equipment, storm sewer mapping, and taking care of multiple public rain gardens across the county, not to mention the annual plant sale. But most will remember Susie as the first person they spoke with when they called or visited the office. Over 21 years, Susie answered questions and provided guidance on District services to thousands of people.
We will greatly miss Susie’s enthusiasm and dedication to her work, but most of all we will miss seeing our friend in the office each day. Thank you for 21 wonderful years, Susie. You will be missed!
When most people hear the word ‘compost’, they automatically think of a smelly pile of moldy food. However, when done correctly, composting does not smell bad and is a sanitary way to dispose of organic waste. There are many excellent reasons to compost and the greater Cincinnati area has numerous resources available to assist you on your composting journey. Composting yard, garden, and food waste at home saves transportation and disposal cost, and provides an environmentally sound way to manage waste, since yard waste makes up to 30% of the municipal solid waste stream. In addition, composting can provide excellent fertilizer for gardens, yards, and other plants. Adding compost to your garden will increase drainage and provide a continuous source of nutrients required for plant health.
There are many different ways to start composting and no matter what your restrictions may be, there is a composting method that will work for you. At the most basic level, composting can happen when materials are placed in a mound and left alone. If you want a faster or more contained system, you can consider building or purchasing a composting bin. It is not necessary to have a bin, however, it can make it easier to turn the pile, keep the pile manageable, and remove finished compost. You can make your own bin out of wood or fencing and posts. You can also purchase a compost bin that is an enclosed system which will produce usable compost typically in less than a month. These types of bins include rolling bins, tumblers, enclosed bins, and worm bins. If you are interested in purchasing a composting bin, the Office of Environmental Quality currently has Earth Machine compost bins available for purchase for $46. Contact Hannah Lubbers (513) 732-7894 x 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Composting can be an easy and cost effective way to improve the soil quality in your gardens and help your landscaping thrive. No matter how you choose to compost your organic waste, know that you are doing your part to help reduce the amount of waste that goes to our landfills.
The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and the Valley View Foundation are once again working with local partners to plan this year’s Litter Clean-Up event. The 2021 event will be a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) litter clean-up with activities scheduled for the month of June. Volunteers can practice social distancing to help spruce up areas in their communities while enjoying the outdoors. There are many opportunities and areas throughout the county for volunteers to help by clearing trash and unsightly debris from our parks, waterways and other shared open spaces.
Depending on how the next few months unfold, a few small group, in-person activities may be coordinated for the 2021 event. Community coordinators will provide details on those activities later in the spring. Volunteer safety is the top priority. Whether or not the event is DIY or centered around small groups, all volunteers can be provided with clean-up materials for their activities, including protective gloves, trash bags and litter grabbers. Individuals that request litter clean-up materials will be sent details for supply pick-up in their communities.
We appreciate the support of our partner agencies, including the Ohio EPA, Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality, the Clermont County Park District, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and OSU Extension. Most importantly, thank you to the volunteers and communities that come back year after year to protect our local natural resources! Please visit the SLC website for more information and to register: www.springlittercleanup.com. Don’t forget to send us some pics and info on your efforts and we’ll post on the event website!
There are many great reasons to plant native plants. Native plants are the backbone of our local ecosystems and provide an array of services for the wildlife and humans that share the same space.
Native plants require less maintenance than exotic landscaping species and turf lawn as they are adapted to survive to the seasonal changes of Ohio. This means that you will spend less time watering during the summer drought and you won’t have to protect them through the winter. Native plants also help with storm water management as they have deeper root systems to help storm water get into the ground faster. This will help to prevent puddling and flooding around your yard.
Native plants also provide vital habitat for wildlife. Many species of butterflies and birds are dependent on very specific native plant species to survive. Other pollinators like hummingbirds, moths, and bats also rely on native plants for food. Native plants also produce seeds, fruits, and nuts that many species rely on to get through the cold winter months. If you would like to attract more birds and wildlife to your yard, planting native plants is one of the best actions you can take.
by Ben Robinson, ODNR State Service Forester
Southern Ohioans own forest land for many reasons, and their level of involvement in the management of that land varies widely. In a survey conducted by SFFI (Sustaining Family Forests Initiative), Ohioans with 10+ acres of woodlands cited several reasons for owning their forest by level of importance. Of the 12 reasons they own their woods, “timber” fell second-to-last in importance – ranked behind other reasons such as wildlife, aesthetics, recreation and investment. However, 20% of landowners reported cutting trees for sale in the past 5 years, and 21% said they were likely to do so in the next 5 years. Whether harvesting timber is at the top or at the bottom of your priority list, I recommend that you seek advice from professional foresters when making forest management decisions. Foresters are trained in the art and science of growing trees, which is referred to as “silviculture”.
The first step to making wise forest management decisions is to identify your objectives as the landowner. Every stand of timber is not ready for a timber harvest – based on your objectives and the condition of the forest, a professional forester will be able to advise if the time is right for a timber sale, or if it’s wise to wait for a few years. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry has 22 state service foresters, such as myself, who are a free resource to consult when considering a timber harvest. As employees of the State, we do not sell, value or estimate the volume of your standing timber. Instead, we are a free resource to help address your timber sale questions and make site visits to advise on whether or not a timber harvest is the right management tool for your situation.
Whether you are ready to harvest timber or just beginning to think about forest management in your woodlands, there is a professional forester out there in Ohio that is ready to help you navigate those decisions. If you’re considering a timber harvest, or have general forestry questions, feel free to give me a call or send an email, and I’d be happy to chat with you about management of your woodland.
Ben Robinson, State Service Forester
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.
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.