NRCS Announces April 7 Sign-up Deadline for CSP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners interested in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to build on existing conservation efforts to increase operational efficiencies and environmental benefits as well as reduce overall input costs.

This year, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding is providing additional financial opportunities for select conservation practices and enhancements to increase direct climate mitigation benefits. The deadline to receive fiscal year 2023 funding for both CSP-Classic and CSP-IRA is April 7, 2023.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture and forestry production on their land.

Learn more about the CSP-Classic and CSP-IRA application process and eligible land use resource concerns on the Ohio NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program webpage. Landowners in Clermont County who are interested in signing up or learning about other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS should contact Christina Gates, District Conservationist, at christina.gates@usda.gov or (513) 732-2181 ext. 3.

Clermont SWCD to Begin Long Range Planning Efforts in 2023

This winter, Clermont SWCD plans to host multiple public meetings to gather input from residents and landowners on the our programs and services. Information gathered from these meetings will be used to update the District’s five-year strategic plan. Please watch www.clermontswcd.org or our Facebook page for updates and information on how you can participate. If you have questions, please email jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov or call (513) 732-5075 ext. 3

Clermont SWCD Hires New Urban Technician

This October, Clermont SWCD hired Amanda Best as our new Urban Technician. This is a new position which will be responsible for inspecting erosion and sediment control practices at active construction sites. Prior to starting with Clermont County, Amanda worked as a survey aid for Woodford County SWCD in Illinois where she helped to get farm conservation on the ground. She graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University in spring of 2020 where she also played collegiate lacrosse. In her free time she enjoys trying new food and restaurants, crafting, and taking a good walk.

Spring Litter Clean-Up Scheduled for April 22, 2023

Clermont SWCD is working with local partners to plan this year’s Litter Clean-Up event. The 2023 event will be held at multiple locations through Clermont County on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Group and in-person activities plan to be coordinated for the 2023 event.

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. Community coordinators will provide details on those activities later in the spring. All volunteers will be provided with clean-up materials upon request 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, Adams-Clermont Soil Waste District (ACSWD), 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: www.springlittercleanup.com. For questions or additional information please contact Connie Miller at (513) 732-7075 ext. 2 or cmiller@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Thanks to our 2022 Cooperators

Thanks to all our Cooperators for all the Conservation Best Management Practices installed this year!

Practices Installed Amount
Access Road 88 ft
Brush Management 20 acres
Conservation Cover 76.3 acres
Cover Crops 1,348.1 acres
Fence 17,248 ft
Forest Stand Improvement 7.2 acres
Heavy Use Area Protection 2,796 sq ft
Herbaceous Weed Control 44.6 acres
High Tunnel System 2 units
Livestock Pipeline 405 ft
Nutrient Management 813.1 acres
Pasture and Hay Planting 29.3 acres
Roof Runoff Structure 2 units
Watering Facility 3 units
Total $293,473.27
EQIP 1,479.4 acres
16 Contracts $388,943.00

Managing Stormwater at Home with Rain Barrels

With major storm events becoming more frequent, managing stormwater is an ever increasing issue for homeowners. Impervious surfaces such as roofs and pavement keep the water from being absorbed into the ground. Additionally, large lawns of turf grass often do a poor job of soaking rain in quickly which can contribute to high volumes of water runoff. Stormwater runoff poses many issues for the environment and communities. Runoff frequently carries pollutants such as fertilizers, herbicides, pet waste, and litter into our waterways. If the water does not have a way to properly drain, it can lead to flooding and other property damage. Given the wide range of issues that can be caused by increased volumes of stormwater, it is important to consider different management strategies.

The most impactful way to manage stormwater properly is to figure out how to ‘slow it down and soak it up’. Slowing the water down can help prevent erosion and allows stormwater systems to adequately handle storm events. If stormwater can be absorbed into the ground on your property, that is even better since it prevents the water from entering and potentially overloading our sewer systems. There are many different strategies that homeowners can take to ‘slow it down and soak it up’ on their properties such as decreasing the amount of turf grass in their lawn or planting native gardens.

If changing your greenspace isn’t an option, consider installing a rain barrel or two. Rain barrels capture water from the roof and hold it for later use. They are typically attached to downspouts and can collect most if not all rain that falls on your roof. Once in the barrel, the water can then be used to irrigate your lawn, water house plants, or dispelled onto your property any time after the storm. Just 1/4 inch of rainfall can yield up to 150 gallons of water from a 1000 square foot roof. Imagine the water bill savings if you used that water in your outdoor irrigation! Rain barrels can be purchased from Clermont SWCD, through Save Local Waters’ Rain Barrel Art Project, or you can build your own rain barrel using repurposed plastic containers. If you have any questions about using rain barrels on your property or about the Rain Barrel Art Project, please contact Education Coordinator Kat Zelak at kzelak@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Chris Smith Honored as SWCD Cooperator of the Year

Clermont SWCD was honored to present Chris Smith with our Cooperator of the Year award at our Annual Meeting. Chris Smith operates Bogie Greene Acres in Felicity where he lives with Kelli, his wife of 26 years. Together they raise beef cattle and farm about 250 acres of grain. Chris started growing tobacco when he was 16, and began raising cattle on his grandfather’s farm – the farm he now operates – about 25 years ago. He has installed a number of conservation practices, including a manure storage barn, watering facilities, fence and heavy use area protection. Currently, he has a contract to develop a nutrient management plan for his farm.

Chris has also been involved in a number of other activities. He has been a 4-H advisor for over 30 years. Recently, Chris served as a Trustee for Franklin Township, and also served on the Felicity-Franklin School Board for eight years.

We commend Chris Smith for his stewardship efforts, and for being an active partner in helping to protect the land and valuable natural resources of the county.

Kim Rees Wins SWCD Educator of the Year

Kim Rees, a 4th grade math and science teacher at Merwin Elementary School, was awarded the Educator of the Year award at our Annual Meeting held in September.

Teaching has been Kim’s passion for twenty-five years. Over the 2021-22 school year, Kim worked hard to reduce food waste at Merwin Elementary. This inspired a shift from Merwin’s Math and Science Club into a Science and Nature Club. Through a partnership with Clermont SWCD and the Cincinnati Nature Center, as well as Merwin’s Kindness Club, Kim was able to create an amazing outdoor classroom and garden featuring native plants. Kim is also working hard to develop a food waste composting program, with the finished compost being used on the school garden.

Clermont SWCD is pleased to honor Kim Rees for her conservation education efforts, and looks forward to working with her in the future. If you would like to learn more about education programs offered through Clermont SWCD, visit https://www.clermontswcd.org/education-and-outreach/

Connie O’Connor Re-Elected to Board of Supervisors

In the election held September 14, Connie O’Connor was re-elected for a second term on the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. Her term will begin January 1, 2023 and run through 2026.

Congratulations Connie, and thank you for serving your conservation district!

Fall Pond Clinic-September 20

We will be holding a pond clinic at Pattison Park just outside Owensville on September 20th at 5:30 pm.

This is the first event in a few years. We will be returning to our normal April event in 2023.

This years’ event will meet at the shelter house and you will be rotating to speakers in small groups around the pond. Please bring your own chairs if you like. Topics to include: Ponds 101, Aeration, Pond weed control, and a naturalist talk. Discussions will be based on questions you bring. If inclement weather is predicted, we will be indoors at lodge across from shelter house. Parking will be on both sides of US 50. Jones Fish Hatchery and Clermont County Parks will also be presenting. Clermont Co. Park District- Pattison Park 2228 US Highway 50, Batavia OH

There is no cost, but registration is recommended for event setup. To register or additional information contact Connie Miller at (513) 732-7075 ext 2 or cmiller@clermontcountyohio.gov