October 17, 2019

Clermont SWCD to restore wetlands, create basin for water management

BATAVIA, OH (Oct. 17, 2019) — Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Clermont County Park District have received a $135,080 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore a stream and construct three small wetlands at Shor Park on Tealtown Road. This is the second phase of a restoration project that began in 2014 when Clermont SWCD and the Park District partnered to restore more than nine acres of wetlands and create a bioretention basin for storm water management.

On Oct. 9, the Clermont SWCD Board approved a contract with Sustainable Streams, a project design firm. Project design work will be completed over the winter, and construction is anticipated to start next summer.

About 200 feet of Avey’s Run flows through a storm sewer system as it enters Shor Park. The pipes are in disrepair, resulting in several sinkholes that could pose a danger to park visitors. Bank erosion continues along a 500-foot stretch of the stream. Erosion is also a problem in a small channel that follows a hiking trail downstream of the bioretention basin. Additionally, invasive species such as honeysuckle and autumn olive have taken over parts of the property, including in areas where the soils are better suited for wetlands.

Part of the project will involve removing the existing storm sewer and recreating a natural stream channel in its place. To correct erosion problems in other locations, the project team will install hand placed log structures at key places along the stream bank. This technique mimics naturally-occurring stable wood found in nature, and avoids the disturbance associated with heavy equipment and grading operations.

Along with the stream restoration work, three pocket wetlands will be created and more than 11 acres of invasive species will be removed.

Shor Park, located at 4659 Tealtown Road, is the newest park in the Clermont County Park District. The 56-acre parcel of land was donated by Sylvia Shor. The park features three walking trails winding through the many open fields on the property. In 2019, the park Ddistrict completed construction of two new picnic shelters, an inclusive playground designed for users of all abilities, and a wind turbine to help power the new facilities.

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September 19, 2019

Dam removal restores river to more natural state in Batavia

Thanks to the efforts of the Valley View Foundation, Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Village of Batavia, the segment of the East Fork Little of the Miami River that flows through the heart of Batavia has been restored to a more natural state following the removal of a low-head dam, which has impeded the river since the 1940s.

Similar to other Depression-era dams built across the nation, the Batavia dam was constructed to provide a local water source. Batavia ceased utilizing the dam for such purposes years ago and the defunct structure remained imbedded in the river, degrading habitat and posing a significant threat to the public.

Low-head dams can be dangerous, as people who recreate on or near the structures risk injury and drowning. Dubbed as “drowning machines” because of the turbulent, circulating waters that can trap people at the toe of the dam, many communities are opting to remove these structures to improve public safety. Over the last 30 years, 50+ dams have been removed across Ohio, including two dams in the East Fork watershed; one located on the East Fork Little Miami River in the Village of Williamsburg and another on Solomon Run, an East Fork tributary near Fayetteville.

The dam removal and river restoration in Batavia was funded through Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP), a program created in 2000 that uses interest monies from Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) sponsor projects to fund preservation and restoration of the state’s water resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also contributed funds to improve river habitat, specifically for fish and endangered mussel species. Removal of the dam provides immediate habitat improvements and over time, the diversity of fish and mussel species will also improve.

Activities to remove the dam began with a notching of the structure on Sept.  4 to lower river levels and relocate mussels found behind the dam and along the newly exposed banks.

Removal of the dam is now complete and instream restoration is in the works.

Upon completion of the project later this month, Clermont County residents will enjoy safer recreation along the river and the East Fork will flow freely for 20 miles to its confluence with the Little Miami River near Milford.

September 5, 2019

State and county officials to recognize award winners

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 5, 2019) — Prior to its 76th Annual Meeting and Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will hold a press conference to honor its 2019 Cooperator and Educator of the Year award recipients.

During the press conference, which starts at 5 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Building on the Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville, Ohio, various state and local elected officials will present certificates of recognition to the award recipients. Confirmed presenters include State representatives John Becker and Doug Green, Gov. Mike DeWine’s Southwest Ohio Liaison Jason Gloyd, and a member of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners. Clermont SWCD will present its awards during the Annual Meeting, which will begin at about 6 p.m.

For more information, please contact John McManus, Clermont SWCD District Administrator, at (513) 732-7075 ext. 3, or at jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Information on Clermont SWCD Award Recipients:

Cooperator of the Year – Louise Gartner

Louise Gartner operates a five-acre organic farm in Monroe Township. In two short years, she went from a small vegetable garden to raising organic crops under four high tunnels.  She plans to construct two more large high tunnels in the near future to further expand her beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peppers, potatoes and zucchini production.  Louise has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to construct the high tunnels and other conservation practices, including cover crops, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and a drainage system around the high tunnels.  She now has a very productive operation, selling to a local food Co-op based out of Cincinnati, as well as an upper-end grocery store chain.  Louise devotes much of her time to educating and training others.  She has hosted various educational tours for groups, such as National Farm to Table conference and the Turner Farm, which has a Veteran to Farmer Training Program.

Educator of the Year – Meri Johnson

Meri Johnson is an educational consultant whose services have been invaluable to Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and local schools. She has trained hundreds of teachers in Ohio and has been actively involved as a science education advisor for several local universities, the Ohio Department of Education and the National Science Teachers Association. Prior to this, Meri worked as Clermont County’s Science Curriculum Specialist for the Educational Service Center. She also taught at Clermont Northeastern High School for 13 years and Batavia High School for nine years. During that time she taught biology, environmental science, outdoor science, anatomy and physiology, AP biology and physical science. She was also the sponsor for the Envirothon, Clermont Science Challenge and Academic Quiz Teams. Meri also served on the Clermont SWCD Board of Supervisors for 12 years. She considers herself to be very fortunate to have a career that allows her to share her passion of science and outdoors with her adolescent and adult students in an interesting, valuable and encouraging way.

 

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August 23, 2019

Residents, landowners invited to elect Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors member

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 26, 2019) — If you are a resident or landowner in Clermont County, the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) invites you to participate in the election for its Board of Supervisors. The election runs from Aug. 22 through the annual meeting at the County Fairgrounds in Owensville on Sept. 12.

One person will be elected to the Board for a three-year term commencing Jan. 1, 2020. Candidates for the election include Laura Carlier and Connie O’Connor. Candidate biographies can be viewed at www.clermontswcd.org. Votes can be cast at Clermont SWCD’s office on the fairgrounds, or a request form for an absentee ballot can be downloaded from the District’s web site.

Clermont SWCD’s 76th Annual Meeting and Banquet will be at the Fairgrounds Multipurpose Building in Owensville on Sept.  12.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:30. Banquet tickets ($12 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under) must be purchased in advance. For more information, contact Clermont SWCD at (513) 732-7075 ext.2, or email ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov.

The meeting will include a catered dinner, and the evening’s entertainment will feature Raptor Inc., a volunteer organization that specializes in the pickup, rehabilitation and release of injured raptors, and delivers educational programs throughout the region.

Election results will be announced at the end of the evening. It is not necessary to purchase tickets to vote in the election.

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July 2, 2019

State offers disaster recovery funding to plant cover crops on flooded acreage

BATAVIA, Ohio (July 2, 2019) — Extreme weather conditions like the recent excessive rains and tornados have negatively impacted Ohio farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS)  will invest $4 million to help Ohio agricultural producers recover. Technical and financial assistance is now available to producers who were unable to plant their crops, or who have experienced crop loss due to flooded or wet fields. This sign-up is an opportunity for farmers to plant a cover crop.

To apply for this special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) opportunity, farmers in Clermont County should contact either Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, or Jenna Swanson, NRCS Soil Scientist, at (513) 732-2181 ext. 3. Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, until funding is exhausted.

“NRCS can be a valuable partner to help Ohio landowners with their agricultural recovery effort,” said State Conservationist Terry Cosby for NRCS in Ohio. “This special sign-up encourages farmers to plant cover crops to improve water quality and soil health, prevent soil erosion, and suppress weeds on areas not planted to crops.”

NRCS will utilize EQIP for this special disaster recovery sign-up. EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers protect the environment while promoting agricultural production.

Cover crops provide an alternative to fields going fallow and remaining uncovered. Cover crops also improve soil vitality by adding nutrients and organic matter. Many fields that are saturated for a long period of time face a loss of soil organisms. Cover crop roots reestablish soil health and create pathways for air and water to move through the soil, which is key to restoring it.

There are significant changes with cover crops and the state wants producers to be successful in their 2020 planting year. Educational cover crop workshops and field days are readily available throughout Ohio to learn more. Additional information is also available on the NRCS website and farmers.gov/prevented-planting.

Landowners should coordinate with other USDA farm agencies when participating in related programs. It is a producer’s responsibility to work directly with their insurance agent and Risk Management Agency (RMA) to ensure they understand their policy.

 

August 24, 2018

Clermont Soil & Water District celebrates its 75th anniversary

BATAVIA, Ohio (Aug. 24, 2018) – In August 1943, Clermont County held a referendum where an extraordinary 97 percent of the voters supported the creation of a soil conservation district. This year, the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is celebrating 75 years of conservation with a diamond anniversary open house and dinner banquet on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Shaw Farms, 1737 SR 131 in Miami Township.

Soil & Water Conservation Districts rose throughout the United States following the Dust Bowl era in the 1930s. In 1943, the Clermont Soil Conservation District was the 13th district created in Ohio. Early efforts in Clermont County focused on drainage, erosion control, terracing, strip cropping and assistance with pond building. The district did not receive county or state funds until the 1950s.

In 1961, the district’s mission expanded to include water quality, and its name was changed to the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District. It was during the 1960s that Clermont SWCD increased its education in schools and began compiling the first county soil survey. Following changes to the Clean Water Act in 1987, a greater emphasis was placed on storm water programs, and in the 1990s and 2000s, Clermont SWCD initiated and strengthened water quality protection efforts in the East Fork Little Miami River watershed.

Today, Clermont SWCD’s efforts place an emphasis on both building soil quality and reducing nutrient runoff from agricultural fields, managing storm water runoff in urban areas to reduce drainage problems and to prevent pollutants from washing into nearby streams, and working with members of the East Fork Watershed Cooperative to control harmful algal blooms on Harsha Lake.

“Since our district’s creation, we have worked hand in hand with farmers to help encourage practices that improved the quality of their soil,” said SWCD Administrator John McManus. “But over the last several decades our scope has expanded. Our focus is on encouraging farmers and homeowners to be good stewards of our water and soil, and to keep our watershed as healthy as possible.”

The diamond anniversary festivities, sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and Park National Bank, will begin at 5 p.m. and will include music from Full Moon Ranch, a mobile aquarium from the Newport Aquarium, hayrides, children’s activities with area naturalists, and displays looking back at 75 years of conservation in Clermont County.

The banquet dinner and meeting will begin at 6:15 p.m.  Dinner will be provided by Taste of the Good Life catering and local beer from Old Firehouse Brewery and wine from O’Bannon Creek Vineyards will be served.

Admission to the pre-dinner activities is free. Pre-registration is required for the diamond anniversary dinner. Tickets are $12 for adults and $4 for children between the ages of 5 and 12, and may be purchased online at www.clermontswcd.org.  For more information, contact Susie Steffensen at 513. 732.7075 ext. 2 or at ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov.

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March 16, 2018

Clermont County holding open houses in April – public is invited

BATAVIA, Ohio – Interested in learning more about county government? Have you ever seen a K-9 team in action? Do you want to find out more about the county’s Opiate Task Force? If so, please join us in April during National County Government Month.

Clermont County will hold several open houses and activities during the month.

The public is invited and is asked to register at https://clermontcountyohio.gov//national-county-government-month or call Kathleen Williams at 513.732.7597, or email her at kwilliams@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Saturday, April 7

Celebrate the outdoors at Sycamore Park

10 a.m.-noon: Nest Fest at Sycamore Park. Learn how to identify bird eggs and nests, use your “owl eyes” for our egg hunt and meet birds of prey up close thanks to our friends at RAPTOR Inc.

Address: 4082 SR 132, Batavia

Meet your new pet

1-2 p.m.: Meet the folks at the Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society animal shelter, 4025 Filager Road, Batavia. The new managers of the animal shelter will talk about their philosophy and initiatives. You can also meet the dogs and cats available for adoption.

Address: 4025 Filager Road, Batavia

Thursday, April 12

Celebrating successes in the opiate epidemic fight

2-3:30 p.m.: Join Clermont County’s Opiate Task Force as it celebrates Ohio’s ‘A Week of Appreciation, Batavia Township Community Center. Learn more about the task force’s accomplishments, initiatives and resources as it thanks those who have been on the front lines of fighting this epidemic. Light refreshments.

Address: Batavia Township Community Center, 1535 Clough Pike, Batavia

Saturday, April 14

Rendezvous on the River

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.:  Help the Clermont County Park District celebrate spring and National County Government Month with the season-opening event at Chilo Lock 34 Park. We’ll have food, fun and special guests on every floor of the Visitors Center from noon to 3 p.m.  Enjoy the playground, hike the trails and watch the mighty Ohio River from the boat ramp or the observation deck all day long.

Address:  521 County Park Road, Chilo (off U.S. 52)

Thursday, April 19

Ensuring public health

2-3 p.m.: Public Health is more than just flu shots. Visit your Public Health officials at the Clermont County Public Health Nursing Division to see what it takes to protect the health of Clermont County and its residents.

Birth certificates, flu shots, septic system inspections, plumbing permits, restaurant inspections, WIC, free car seats for needy families, and reducing drug overdoses in the community are just a few of the things that Public Health does. Stop by for an open house and talk to your public health department.

Address:  2400 Clermont Center Drive, Suite 200, Batavia

Enforcing laws & protecting citizens

6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.:  Tour the Sheriff’s Office. See the Crime Lab. In the parking lot, see a demonstration by the K-9 unit, and the Special Response Team – including a robot used in dangerous situations.

Address: 4470 SR 222, Batavia – please park in adjacent Municipal Court parking lot

Saturday, April 21

Spring Litter Clean-Up

This annual volunteer event is held in communities throughout Clermont County. Appreciate our county’s beauty? Volunteer to be part of this countywide event – whether in cities, townships and villages, along the Little Miami and East Fork, or at East Fork State Park. Find out more information here: https://www.springlittercleanup.com/. #GreenClermont

Tuesday, April 24

Protecting our water & environment

10-11:30 a.m.: Tour the Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant and learn how water from Harsha Lake becomes drinking water. And learn more about how we are protecting our watershed from the Office of Environmental Quality and Soil & Water Conservation District. #GreenClermont

Address: 3960 Greenbriar Road, Batavia

Disability awareness

4-6 p.m.:  Learn about services offered by the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, as well as other agencies in the Tri-State area that serve children and adults with disabilities.  Members of the Clermont County Voices self-advocacy group will be available to give facility tours and answer questions about the challenges they have faced in their everyday lives.

Address:  2040 US Highway 50, Batavia

#LeadingTheWay
#CountiesMatter

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March 16, 2018

Batavia, Stonelick townships declared free of Asian longhorned beetle

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (March 15, 2018) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Service (USDA APHIS) today announced that Batavia and Stonelick townships in Clermont County are free from the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).

“With long days and hundreds of thousands of trees surveyed, this declaration today is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our state, federal and local partners,” said David T. Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “It is this collaboration that will achieve continued success in the fight to rid Ohio of this destructive pest.”

Daniels was joined by USDA APHIS representatives, as well as community leaders at an announcement ceremony and tree planting at the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, an area contained within the previous Batavia and Stonelick quarantine area.

ODA and USDA APHIS will move to lift the quarantine of Stonelick and Batavia townships, reducing the regulated areas of Clermont County from 62 to 57 square miles. The beetle was first discovered in Tate Township in Clermont County in June 2011. ALB quarantines remain in effect for Tate Township, East Fork State Park, portions of the East Fork Wildlife Area and a portion of Monroe Township.

“While we are thrilled with the announcement today, we still ask residents to remain vigilant and inspect their trees regularly for signs of the beetle,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA division of Plant Health. “This satellite infestation was detected by an alert property owner and it is this type of awareness that will help us toward our goal of eradication.”

Adult ALBs are large, shiny black insects measuring 1 to 1 ½ inches long, not including antennae, with random white spots. Their white-banded antennae can be as long as the body itself on females and almost twice the body length on males.

Signs of infestation include perfectly round exit holes (about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter) made by adult beetles when they emerge from trees; pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where female beetles deposit eggs; frass (wood shavings and saw dust) produced by larvae feeding and tunneling; early fall coloration of leaves or dead branches; and running sap produced by the tree at the egg laying sites or in response to larval tunneling. The beetle will infest various common trees in Ohio, including all species of maple, buckeye, willow and elm.

To report signs or symptoms of ALB, call the Ohio ALB Eradication Program Office at 513-381-7180 or report online at asianlonghornedbeetle.com.

(Press release by the Ohio Department of Agriculture)

July 11, 2017

Department of Agriculture expands quarantine area for Asian longhorned beetle

COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 10, 2017) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) announced on July 10 the addition of 576 acres of the East Fork Wildlife Area to the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) quarantine zone in Clermont County. The addition increases the total square miles regulated for the beetle to 62 square miles, up from 61 square miles. The movement of hardwood logs, firewood, stumps, roots and branches within these regulated areas is prohibited.

The quarantine expansion is the result of newly discovered infested trees found in late 2016 within the Williamsburg Township portion of the East Fork Wildlife Area, south of Clover Road. ODA and USDA APHIS tree inspection crews surveyed trees in the area, and infested and high-risk tree removals are occurring as part of the ALB eradication effort. A map of the regulated area can be found here.

East Fork Wildlife Area consists of 2,705 acres that are managed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife for public hunting and fishing in southwestern Ohio. It is unlawful for any person to remove wood from a wildlife area without first obtaining approval.

Adult ALBs are large, shiny black insects measuring 1 to 1 ½ inches long, not including antennae, with random white spots. Their white-banded antennae can be as long as the body itself on females and almost twice the body length on males.

Signs of infestation include perfectly round exit holes (about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter) made by adult beetles when they emerge from trees; pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where female beetles deposit eggs; frass (wood shavings and saw dust) produced by larvae feeding and tunneling; early fall coloration of leaves or dead branches; and running sap produced by the tree at the egg laying sites or in response to larval tunneling. The beetle will infest various common trees in Ohio, including all species of maple, buckeye, willow and elm.

To report signs or symptoms of ALB, call the Ohio ALB Eradication Program Office at 513-381-7180 or report online at asianlonghornedbeetle.com.

Contacts:

Brett Gates, Ohio Department of Agriculture, (614) 752-9817

Matt Eiselstein, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (614) 265-6860

 

May 4, 2017

Ag producers may qualify for pollinator funding

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 4, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a new conservation effort for Ohio agriculture producers to help combat future declines of honeybees and Monarch butterflies by providing food and habitat sources. Through May 19, producers may apply for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to plant cover crops, or plant milkweed, wildflowers, and native grasses in buffers and areas not in production.

More than 80 percent of the world’s plants need pollinators to survive, including many that provide the food we eat. But many pollinators like honeybees and Monarch butterflies are in trouble. That’s why NRCS works with private landowners to create food and habitat for pollinators on farms and in forests. In total, more than 3 dozen NRCS conservation practices provide benefits to pollinators.

For more information regarding the Pollinator EQIP sign-up in Clermont or Brown County, contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov, or 513.732.2181 ext. 3.

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