Clermont County’s 2021 Litter Clean-Up

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!

Why Plant Native?

A Clouded Sulphur Butterfly drinking nectar from a native goldenrod

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.

Call Before You Cut

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

614.204.9026

Ben.Robinson@dnr.ohio.gov

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!

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.