Volunteers collect 150 bags of litter

–From Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District

The 2021 annual litter clean-up event was held throughout the month of June, with a combination of in-person clean-ups at six various sites across Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River watershed, along with Do-It-Yourself options for volunteers who prefer to focus on areas closer to home.

About 165 volunteers participated and collected a combined 150 bags of trash. The Summer Litter Cleanup event is coordinated each year by the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and the Valley View Foundation and partially supported with a grant from Ohio EPA, Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention.

We truly appreciate the support from our event sponsor, the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR). Thank you also to our partnering agencies and organizations, including the Clermont Office of Environmental Quality, Clermont County Park District, Clermont Office of Public Information, Ohio Department of Natural Resources—Divisions of Parks and Watercraft, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Friends of Stonelick State Park.

For the second year in a row Ellie Arkus, an 11th grade student at New Richmond High School, was the winner of the student design contest which is sponsored by SOAR to promote litter awareness and prevention in K-12th grade schools. Ellie’s design was selected from over 120 entries.

For more information, contact the Clermont Soil andWater Conservation District at 513.732.7075.

See photos here

2021 Summer Litter Clean-Up: New logo, new options

BATAVIA, OH – The 2021 Summer Litter Clean-Up (SLC) will be promoted with a new logo, created by Ms. Ellie Arkus, an 11th grade student at New Richmond High School. Registration for the SLC is currently underway and volunteers are wanted to help with litter removal events and activities throughout the entire month of June.

Volunteers may register via the event website and have the option to join in-person events (space limited), or keep things virtual with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) activities in local communities. These options will help the communities have a successful clean-up and adhere to current Covid safety protocols.

The student design contest is sponsored by the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR) to promote litter awareness and prevention in K-12th grade schools and to kick-start advertisement for the annual SLC event.  Ellie’s design was selected from over 120 entries.  “We’re always impressed with the creativity of our local students. Congratulations to Ellie and New Richmond High School,” says Carrie McIntosh-Owens, president of SOAR.

SLC is coordinated each year by the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Valley View Foundation (VVF) and partially supported with a grant from Ohio EPA, Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention.

“We were excited to have had so many students submit artwork for the contest,” said Vanessa Hannah, executive director with the Valley View Foundation. “Ellie’s design will be a great way to promote the event and hopefully draw a lot of local volunteers to help in this year’s litter clean-up.”

Clean-up materials, including protective gloves and trash bags, can be made available for all volunteers at specific locations across Clermont County.  Additional event details, including online registration, can be found at: www.springlittercleanup.com.  For more information, contact the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District at 513.732.7075 or the Valley View Foundation at 513.218.1098.


Clermont County asks for input on Storm Water Management Plan

BATAVIA, OH — Over the next year, Clermont County will be updating its Storm Water Management Plan, which creates and implements programs that reduce water pollution caused by storm water runoff. As part of the revision process, Clermont County is seeking feedback from residents and business owners on how to improve the program.

Since 2003, the Ohio EPA has required Clermont County and 14 urbanized townships and municipalities within the county to obtain a storm water discharge permit, and to develop a management plan that addresses pollution caused by storm water runoff. The Board of County Commissioners adopted the first plan in 2003, with updates in 2010 and 2016. A new set of revisions are now necessary to reflect improvements made to the program over the years, and to address new Ohio EPA permit requirements that went into effect in April 2021.

“It is important to note that the focus of this plan is improving the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes by reducing the amount of pollutants that are washed into them during a storm,” Clermont SWCD Administrator John McManus said. As required by the Ohio EPA, the plan must address six “minimum measures”:  public education, public involvement, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site runoff control, post-construction storm water management, and pollution prevention for local government activities. “The plan does not specifically address drainage or flooding problems, or the installation or repair of storm sewers,” added McManus.

A copy of the existing plan is available online at https://www.clermontswcd.org/storm-water-reports/; printed copies of the plan are available by contacting the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) at (513) 732-7075 ext. 3. Public comments on the existing plan will be accepted through June 1. Please email comments to jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov, or mail them to Clermont SWCD, P.O. Box 549, Owensville, OH 45160. Clermont County will solicit additional public input once a draft revision has been completed.

For more information about the Clermont County Storm Water Management Plan, call (513) 732-7075 ext. 3, or email jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Natural resources grants available for farmers, forest owners

Submitted by Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District

BATAVIA, OH — On Dec. 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Additionally, NRCS is offering an opportunity for agricultural producers in three watersheds in the East Fork Little Miami River Basin to apply for assistance installing conservation practices that protect water quality through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). The deadline for both applications is Jan. 15.

The three East Fork watersheds for which the additional NWQI funding is available include:

  • Glady Creek-East Fork Little Miami River
  • Solomon Run-East Fork Little Miami River
  • Five Mile Creek-East Fork Little Miami River

Together, Ohio NRCS along with the Clermont, Brown, Clinton, and Highland Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) will utilize funds to implement core water quality practices in these watersheds. Applicants for the EQIP and NWQI programs should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria.

“The additional NWQI funding available is a great opportunity for landowners to implement conservation practices in their operation to help and improve water quality on cropland, forest, pasture, and farmsteads,” said Christina Gates, NRCS district conservationist for Brown and Clermont Counties. “If your property is located within the outlined funding area please contact me prior to Jan. 15 at christina.gates@usda.gov to schedule a field visit and submit an application for funding for 2021.”

Property owners in Clinton and Highland Counties with land in the funding area should contact their local NRCS office.

Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the Jan. 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.

Storm Water Awareness Week urges residents to ‘Be the Change for Clean Water’

OWENSVILLE, OH. (Oct. 16, 2020) — The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District is urging county residents to “Be the Change for Clean Water” and take action during Stormwater Awareness Week, Oct. 18-24.

“Storm Water Awareness Week offers all of us the chance to learn about small actions we as individuals can take to help protect our streams and lakes, especially East Fork Lake which serves as a source of drinking water for about half the county,” said John McManus, administrator of the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). While rainwater is great for lawns and gardens, pollutants picked-up by the runoff can be dangerous for streams and rivers.

Storm water can push common items – such as trash, lawn fertilizer, automotive fluids and more – into local waterways, threatening our environment and clean drinking water. During Storm Water Awareness Week, Clermont SWCD is urging residents to take one or more of the following actions:

  • Use fertilizers sparingly if at all. Have your soil tested through the OSU Extension office to determine its needs. Check the weather report before applying fertilizer – avoid applications immediately before or during rains.
  • Don’t dispose of grass clippings, leaves or other yard waste in or near ditches or storm sewers. These carry nutrients that drive harmful algal blooms in our lakes and rivers.
  • Consider replacing part of your lawn with deep-rooted native shrubs or trees. This will increase the amount of water that can soak into the ground, and provide habitat for birds and butterflies.
  • Avoid mowing to the edge of the stream and allow deep rooted trees and shrubs to grow. The root system will help hold soil in place and reduce streambank erosion.
  • Properly dispose of household hazardous waste. Visit oeq.net or contact the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) at 513-732-7894 for disposal options. If there are no local outlets, OEQ will provide county residents with vouchers to bring the materials to Environmental Enterprises in Hamilton County.
  • Please pick up after your pet. Runoff can carry pet waste into streams and contaminates our drinking water.
  • If you have a septic system, make sure it is properly maintained.

There is so much we can do to Be the Change for Clean Water in Ohio. Please take a moment during the week of Oct. 18-24 to share these tips with your family and co-workers so we can all make Clermont County a great place to live, work and play.

For more information on programs and resources for storm water education and conservation, visit www.clermontswcd.org.


Public invited to comment on watershed action plans

BATAVIA, OH (Oct. 2, 2020) — East Fork Watershed Collaborative is updating action plans for the Glady Creek and Solomon Run subwatersheds in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland Counties, and would like to hear from residents about the water quality needs for this area.

  • Glady Creek watershed encompasses the land area that drains to the East Fork from a point downstream of Turtle Creek to just downstream of the point where the East Fork joins Solomon Run near Fayetteville.
  • Solomon Run watershed includes the drainage area from downstream of Solomon Run to a point just upstream of the East Fork’s confluence with Five Mile Creek in Clermont County.

In May 2006, the East Fork Watershed Collaborative completed a watershed action plan that summarized the existing conditions and laid out strategies for protecting or improving water quality for these and other areas. Several items listed in the 2006 plan have been accomplished, but new challenges and regulations have arisen since the plan was completed, necessitating an update.

The East Fork Watershed Collaborative will accept public comments through Saturday, Oct. 31.

Copies of the draft watershed plans are posted on Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District’s website at https://www.clermontswcd.org/east-fork-watershed-programs/.

Comments or questions may be addressed to Becky McClatchey, SWCD Natural Resource Specialist, at rmcclatchey@clermontcountyohio.gov, or (513) 732-7075 ext. 6. Written comments may also be sent to Clermont SWCD, P.O. Box 549, Owensville, OH 45160.


Select two Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors members

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 29, 2020) — 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 board guides the district and its staff in efforts to implement a number of programs that affect Clermont County residents. This includes a variety of agricultural conservation and urban stormwater management programs that help improve the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes. The district also provides assistance to landowners with drainage or erosion problems.

Two people will be elected to the board for three-year terms commencing Jan. 1. Candidates for the election include Dave Anspach, Scott Jennings and Tim Rose. Candidate biographies may be viewed at www.clermontswcd.org.

Absentee voting will start on Aug. 26. County residents and landowners can request absentee ballots by calling (513) 732-7075, completing a request form on the SWCD web site, sending an email to ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov, or by stopping by the district’s walk-up window at the County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville. Ballots must be postmarked by Oct. 9 to be considered valid.

If a resident or landowner prefers to vote in person, Clermont SWCD will hold ‘Drive Thru’ polling Monday- Friday, Sept. 26-Oct. 9, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Voters should enter the County Fairgrounds from Locust Street. Once in the fairgrounds, signs will direct the voter to the polling location, where additional signs will be posted with the district’s phone number to call. Clermont SWCD staff will then bring the ballot to the voter.

There are special requirements for non-resident landowners and corporations. A notarized affidavit must be presented or on file prior to absentee ballot request. For more election and affidavit information, contact Clermont SWCD at (513) 732-7075 ext.2, or email ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov.


Annual spring litter clean-up changed to virtual do-it-yourself, July 4-25

BATAVIA, OH (June 2, 2020) – The annual spring litter clean-up event held in Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River watershed has been changed to a virtual, Summer Litter Clean-Up (SLC) for do-it-yourself volunteers.  The SLC event, coordinated each year by the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Valley View Foundation (VVF), will kick off on July 4 in honor of our nation’s independence and will run through July 25.

“We’re asking volunteers to pick any date during that time frame to find an area near their home or in their local community that is in need of litter removal,” said Vanessa Hannah, Executive Director with the Valley View Foundation.  “Individuals or small groups can pick up litter as they visit local parks, hike nearby trails, or canoe the river while practicing social distancing.”

All volunteers are asked to register through the event website: www.springlittercleanup.com.  Clean-up materials, including protective gloves and trash bags, can be made available at specific locations across Clermont County.  A stainless steel water bottle with this year’s student designed logo will be included with clean-up materials, while supplies last.

On May 13, the Clermont County Commissioners recognized 10th grader Ellie Arkus for winning the 2020 SLC Logo Design Contest and also acknowledged her teacher, Ms. Amy Hauserman, and New Richmond High School for their involvement with the program.

“We’re always impressed with the designs submitted each year and Ellie’s design looks wonderful on the stainless steel bottle,” said Becky McClatchey, with Clermont SWCD.

The Logo Design Contest and Spring Litter Cleanup are sponsored locally by the Clermont County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Duke Energy Foundation, and the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR).  The event is also partially supported with a grant from Ohio EPA.

Online registration for the event is open: http://www.springlittercleanup.com/.  For more information, contact the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District at 513.732.7075 or the Valley View Foundation at 513.218.1098.

SWCD offers improved pond clinic at no cost

BATAVIA, OH — Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will offer an improved free pond clinic to pond owners and managers at 5:30 p.m. April 14 at the Cincinnati Nature Center-Rowe Woods at 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford. Improvements include additional speakers, a new breakout session format and the addition of a pond walk 4-5 p.m., weather permitting.

“Our event is one of the largest in the area and we want to continue to grow this program to best inform our pond managers, “ said Jake Hahn of SWCD.

More than 5,000 ponds in Clermont County are used for many different purposes. Since ponds are not a common natural landscape feature in our area, they need additional maintenance and care to function properly and meet the landowners’ expectations.

“We hope our event can be a place for pond owners to interact with other owners in the area to solve management problems with the guidance of our expert speakers,” Hahn said.

Gus Keibel and Randy Morgan from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will discuss muskrat prevention and control. Concurrent breakout sessions will include Ponds 101 with Hahn, or Pond Health and Aeration with Jones Fish Hatchery, and Pond Weed Control, also with Jones Fish Hatchery, or New Pond Construction with Hahn.

Clermont SWCD aims to help construct and maintain a safe, functional and attractive pond. Clermont County Farm Bureau is sponsoring the event.

There is no cost, but registration is required to gain free admission to the Cincinnati Nature Center. To register for the free clinic or for more information, go to www.clermontswcd.org or contact Clermont SWCD at (513) 732-7075.


Native plants available at discounted prices

BATAVIA, OH (March 5, 2020) – Beautify your outdoor space and help pollinators.

Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is offering tree and native shrub seedlings, as well as native perennials, at discount prices. This program offers the opportunity for individuals to develop small areas of reforestation, wildlife enhancement, or additions to home landscaping.

Order deadline is April 9, or while supplies last. Please order early to guarantee availability. Plant pickup will take place April 16-17 at the Clermont County Fairgrounds.

For detailed descriptions and photos, visit clermontplantsale.com

Most of the seedlings offered are from 12 to 24 inches tall. Tree and shrub seedlings will be bare rooted. The district dips the plants in a root preservative to help keep the roots from drying out and wraps them in a plastic bag. Most packets will be in a bag about the size of a grocery bag and can easily be placed in your car for pickup.

New this year: SWCD is offering native hybrid perennials as “plugs” about 2 inches in diameter and a robust 4.5 inches deep.

Why plugs?

  • Root channels keep the roots from spiraling
  • Sturdy, straight, heftier roots translate to quicker establishment
  • Brawnier top growth
  • Less post-planting maintenance