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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March 9, 2017

Clermont County holding open house in April – public is invited

BATAVIA, Ohio (March 9, 2017) – Interested in learning more about county government and how your tax dollars are spent? Clermont County is celebrating National County Government Month – April – by holding open houses on consecutive Tuesdays in April. The public is invited and is asked to register at www.clermontcountyohio.gov/national-county-government-month or call Kathleen Williams at 513.732.7597.

Tuesday, April 4: Meet Your Commissioners

 10-11 a.m.:  101 E. Main St., Batavia, Third Floor

Meet the Commissioners in Session Room. Learn about the basics of county government, the BCC’s responsibilities, what’s on tap for 2017. Q&A.

Tuesday, April 11: #GreenClermont – Protecting our water & environment

10 a.m.-noon Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant, 3960 Greenbriar Road, Batavia

Take a tour of the plant and learn from our Water Resources team how water is treated in Clermont County. Q&A. Also participating: Office of Environmental Quality and Soil & Water Conservation District.

Tuesday, April 18: Law, Order and Justice

11 a.m.-noon: Sheriff’s Office , 4470 SR 222, Batavia

Meet Sheriff Leahy and his chiefs. What is the Sheriff’s Office responsible for? What are its biggest challenges? Q&A.

Concurrent:

1-2 p.m.: Municipal Court, 4430 SR 222, Batavia: Representatives from Municipal Court, the Prosecutor’s Office and Public Defender’s Office talk about their roles and how the court functions. Q&A.

1-2 p.m.: Common Pleas Court, 270 E. Main St., Batavia: Representatives from Common Pleas Court, the Prosecutor’s Office and Public Defender’s Office talk about their roles and how the court functions. Q&A.

Tuesday, April 25: Supporting Families & Healthy Living

10 a.m.-11 a.m.: Representatives from Children’s Protective Services, Child Support Enforcement, and Developmental Disabilities on how their agencies make a difference. Q&A.

11 a.m.-noon: Representatives from Clermont Public Health and Mental Health & Recovery Board talk about their initiatives and challenges. Q&A.

Both sessions at Engineer’s Training Room, 2381 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia.

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February 7, 2017

Don’t move wood in ALB quarantine areas

Driving around Clermont County, residents and visitors may have noticed these new signs being installed along some major thoroughfares.

As you can see, the signs define the borders of Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) quarantined areas in the county. The ALB is a destructive insect that threatens the state’s hardwood forests and the multi-billion dollar forestry and nursery industry that employs hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. The bug was first detected in Tate Township in 2011.

Besides the bug’s natural movement, infestations of ALB can spread through human-assisted movement of firewood and other wood products. It is this type of movement that resulted in the infestations and subsequent quarantined areas in portions of Monroe, Stonelick and Batavia Townships and the type of movement we at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) are hoping to avoid.

The signs detail the prohibitions on removal of wood from these quarantined areas, enforced by the Ohio ALB Eradication Program, a partnership between the U.S. and Ohio Departments of Agriculture. The program encourages individuals to contact the ODA at 513-381-7180 with any questions regarding the quarantines or to report any wood movement. Please be aware of the regulations in place before moving any wood product, and to keep an eye out for these signs when traveling. You can also visit http://www.agri.ohio.gov/topnews/asianbeetle/ to view quarantine maps and get additional information regarding the ALB.

Even if you are not driving through these quarantined areas, it is always good practice not to move wood long distances. The Don’t Move Firewood campaign encourages individuals to “Buy Local and Burn Local” and not risk the movement of different forest pests. You can find out much more information on their website at www.dontmovefirewood.org.

For more information, contact 513.381.7180 or email plantpest@agri.ohio.gov.

 

January 11, 2017

Conservation Stewardship Program applications due Feb. 3

BATAVIA, Ohio  (Jan. 11, 2017) – The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.

CSP helps agricultural and forestry producers build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operations. Most that are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP offers more than 200 enhancements for those practices.

Once enrolled in CSP, the producer will have a one-on-one consultation with the NRCS conservation planner to evaluate the current operations and the natural resources on the property. Then the planner will determine if current activities meet stewardship eligibility, and will assist the producer in identifying additional enhancements to consider based on existing conservation practices, such as cover crops or precision agriculture. After the enhancements that best fit the operation are selected, CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing these activities on the land.

Applicants must have control of the land they want to enroll for a minimum of five years to be eligible. Producers interested in the program should contact the NRCS office prior to Feb. 3. Additional information on the program is located at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp.  Producers in Clermont and Brown Counties should contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS District Conservationist, at 513.732.2181 ext. 3, or by email at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.

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November 21, 2016

Love to draw? Help design rain barrels

BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 21, 2016) — All artists, including students and seasoned professionals, are invited to apply to be part of the fifth annual Rain Barrel Art Project, an initiative designed to educate the community about water conservation and pollution caused by storm water runoff.

The Rain Barrel Art Project is a joint effort of Save Local Waters, its members and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Students and other community members throughout the Ohio River Valley are asked to submit artistic designs to beautify otherwise dull rain barrels that are then displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo and auctioned off to raise funds for conservation education.

“We are so grateful to the artists who’ve contributed to this project in the past. Their efforts to make otherwise plain rain barrels appealing to the eye have allowed us to raise awareness and encourage the use of rain barrels,” said John Nelson, a Save Local Waters representative and public relations specialist. “Rain barrels are a great tool for conserving water and saving money, and through the Rain Barrel Art Project we’ve so far been able to place about 200 beautiful rain barrels at homes and businesses throughout the Ohio River Valley area.”

Artists who wish to submit a design for consideration must do so by Jan. 20, 2017, through an online form at www.savelocalwaters.org where additional instructions can be found. Designs will be selected and announced at the end of January.

Artists whose designs are selected will be asked to attend an artist workshop on Feb. 11, 2017, to pick up their rain barrels and learn techniques for applying their design. Finished rain barrels must be returned between March 30 and April 1. They will remain on display at the Cincinnati Zoo until April 20, when they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder during the zoo’s Party for the Planet event.

For more information regarding the Rain Barrel Art Project or Save Local Waters, contact John Nelson at 513.772.7645 or visit www.savelocalwaters.org/2017-project.

About Save Local Waters

Save Local Waters is the creation of the Regional Storm Water Collaborative of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, an organization focused on sharing resources to better leverage mass media and raise awareness concerning water quality issues in the Ohio River Valley. The collaborative is composed of storm water districts, municipalities, and soil and water conservation districts in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Together, we can keep our waterways clean and healthy.

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