Ohio River Sweep Update

ORANSCO’s Ohio River Sweep 2020, the annual volunteer cleanup that extends along the entire river, has been postponed until Saturday August 15 from 9 am to noon. As of now, the event includes cleanups in New Richmond, Neville and Moscow. (Note: ORANSCO is the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.)

“This is a great volunteering opportunity to give back to communities and create a healthier environment for people and wildlife along the fabulous Ohio River,” said Penny Greenler, Clermont County coordinator volunteers receive gloves, trash bags and t-shirts supplied by sponsors.

More details about the event will be posted as they are available.

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.

Call for SWCD Supervisor Candidates

Clermont SWCD is seeking candidates for its Board of Supervisors.  Two supervisors will be elected at the Annual Meeting which is tentatively scheduled for September 10.

Board Supervisors guide the district, its staff, and cooperating  agencies in efforts to implement conservation programs in the county that address management and conservation of soil, water and related resources. Board members should have a sincere interest in conservation and must have the enthusiasm, dedication and the time to serve as an elected official. This is a volunteer position, but supervisors can be reimbursed for mileage & expenses (registration, lodging, meals, etc.) related to events involving soil & water professionals.

What a potential supervisor needs to know:

* Candidate must be over 18 years old and a resident of Clermont County.

* This is a volunteer position and runs in 3 year terms.

* Board meetings are on the second Wednesday of the month at 8:00 AM and normally run 1 ½ to 2 hours.

* Attendance at occasional outside meetings, events or trainings is encouraged.

If you are interested in becoming a Board Supervisor for Clermont SWCD, please contact John McManus, District Administrator at (513) 732-7075 Ext: 103 or jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov

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.

NRCS Announces EQIP Deadline

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.

Krebs Retires After 31 Years

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.

NRCS Office Changes

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.