Nathan Brown took home top honors at last years’ 77th Annual Meeting by being named the 2019 Cooperator of the year by the Highland SWCD supervisors and staff. Brown was selected due to his devotion to agricultural and the determination to improve soil health and water quality throughout his farming operation. He has worked diligently with local landowners to install much needed conservation practices on their farms. Brown is a well-respected leader in the agricultural industry and serves as an example of how to incorporate best management practices that will protect our natural resources.
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Public Input Needed - Complete a Short Survey
Annual and strategic long range planning are key elements of good board governance and is the cornerstone of organizational success for the Highland SWCD, therefore we are asking for public input via a short survey. Once all the concerns are gathered from the public, they will be streamlined to provide a consistent approach to the implementation of conservation programs in the current Farm Bill and provide viable input needed to create the Highland SWCD 5-year Long Range Strategic Plan. The SWCD has compiled a list of 6 critical natural resource concerns that outlines the areas to be addressed. From the identified concerns, we ask you to pick your highest ones to help us prioritize which of these issues require our immediate attention and the ones that are less urgent at this time. We ask you please fill out the short survey below and click submit to provide your valued input.
Penn Recognized for His Service
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District recognized Mike Penn for his three years of outstanding service on the Board of Supervisors during their final 2020 Board meeting of the year on Dec 9, 2020. Mike lives in Madison Township where he and his wife operate a cow/calf operation on their 400-acre farm. He is the President of Greenfield Research Inc and has always been an avid supporter of the Soil and Water Conservation District. The Supervisors and Staff would like to thank Mike for promoting conservation in Highland County and being a great inspiration to everyone.
Mike will be passing the reins to newly elected Supervisor Jeff Roehm. Jeff will begin his three-year term on Jan 1, 2021. A Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor is a respected conservation leader that represents Highland County residents in charting the course for Soil and Water conservation and natural resources management. As we thank Mike for his commitment to the District, we look forward to working with Jeff in the years to come.
ADDITIONAL PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CLEAR CREEK WATERSHED AREA
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District was granted a Clear Creek Water Quality & Wildlife Habitat Special Initiative in coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver assistance for conservation and wildlife management practices in the Clear Creek Watershed. This Initiative will continue the conservation efforts of The Clear Creek Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to work with various partners including, Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife, City of Hillsboro, US Fish and Wildlife, and Pheasants Forever, Inc. to maintain water quality, reduce soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat.
The Clear Creek Watershed is located in South West Ohio, Highland County and drains approximately 29,400 acres of land. There is nearly 16,400 acres of agricultural cropland within the watershed. The entire Clear Creek watershed is in the project area, which is unique in that it serves as the source water for the City of Hillsboro, and is the main drinking water source for 6,500 residents and businesses. The Clear Creek Watershed also encompasses Ohio’s first Bobwhite quail focus area. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and listed partners have made sustaining the declining Northern Bobwhite quail population a priority. Within the Clear Creek watershed 9,900 acres have been designated as a focus area for quail habitat management.
This special initiative project will implement a series of agricultural best management practices to protect water quality, improve soil health and provide habitat for at risk species in the Clear Creek Watershed. It will also help protect the City of Hillsboro’s drinking water supply and provide prescribed habitat for Ohio’s diminished Bobwhite Quail population and native pollinators. Project goals for conservation practices include the installation of cover crops, nutrient management, grassed waterways, and certain prescribed wildlife management practices that improve habitat for targeted species. The project will utilize the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to meet the project goals. Implementation of BMPs will be prioritized upstream of the City of Hillsboro’s drinking water intake and within the wildlife focus area for Bobwhite Quail. If you live or farm in the Clear Creek Watershed and would like more information on the program please call the NRCS/SWCD office at 937-393-1922 ext. 3.
TREE SEEDLING SALE IS UNDERWAY!
This year the Highland Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ Annual Tree Seedling Sale will offer hardy tree seedlings and white vinyl marking flags. This is a great opportunity to make purchases at a minimal price with a maximum long-range benefit. There will be a variety of tree seedling packets offered on a first come, first serve basis until sold out, so get your order in early. Click on the tree sale tab for more information.
With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting everyone, we want you to be aware that the Highland SWCD office is open, with limited access to the public. We are operating under normal business hours via phone and email to help serve you during this difficult time. We have essential employees in our office daily with remaining staff working remotely for precautionary measures. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.
Ag Producers Can Help Protect Water Quality in Three East Fork Little Miami River Basin Watersheds Through USDA’s National Water Quality Initiative
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers an opportunity for agricultural producers in three Ohio 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).
NRCS conservation professionals will provide one-on-one personalized advice to help farmers determine which conservation actions will provide the best results to address a broad range of natural resource concerns, including water quality. All applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis. Applications that provide the greatest environmental benefit will be selected for funding and NRCS will provide financial assistance to selected applicants through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Conservation actions include practices that promote soil health, reduce erosion, and lessen nutrient runoff, such as cover crops, reduced tillage, and nutrient management; waste management systems that treat agricultural waste and livestock manure; and wetland restoration that increases wildlife habitat, mitigates flooding, and improves water quality. These practices not only benefit natural resources but enhance agricultural productivity and profitability by improving soil health and optimizing the use of agricultural inputs.
“Farmers recognize the importance of water quality,” said State Conservationist for Ohio Terry Cosby. “These voluntary initiatives provide them with the tools to implement and accelerate on-farm conservation practices to improve the watershed. Local partnerships, like the one that Ohio NRCS has fostered with the area SWCDs, are invaluable in getting farmers the resources they need to deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.”
The three watersheds within Ohio’s East Fork Little Miami River Basin where on-farm conservation investments have the best chance to address resource concerns and improve water quality include:
Joint Annual Meeting Drive Thru a Success
The 78th Annual Meeting of the Highland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was held in collaboration with the Highland Farm Bureau on September 19, 2020 at the Good News Gathering in Hillsboro. This years’ meeting featured a drive thru set up for the safety of everyone and it deemed to be a great success with over 100 participants taking part in the event.
The Highland SWCD was honored to have representatives from the Highland County Health Department, Highland County Recycling and the East Fork Little Miami River Watershed on hand to set up booths throughout the drive thru route to educate participants and provide unique giveaways.
The election of Supervisors for the Board of the Highland Soil & Water Conservation District was also held during the Annual Meeting. There were three candidates running this year for two available positions serving a three-year term beginning January 2021. The candidates on the ballot were Dan Chambers, Jeff Roehm and Chris Cox. When the election results were tallied both Dan Chambers was re-elected to serve another term and Jeff Roehm was elected to begin a new term. Other members of the Highland SWCD Board of Supervisors include Larry Shannon, Jim Carr, and Kyle Mustard.
2020 Summer Litter Clean-up
The Highland SWCD partnered with the Clermont and Brown SWCD’s to organize a virtual ‘’Do-It-Yourself” summer litter clean-up event throughout the month of July. We would like to thank Scout troops from across Highland County for stepping to the plate and participating in a clean-up event held in Lynchburg on July 25, 2020. Volunteers broke down in small groups near the Lion Club Park to collect litter and keep it from polluting our local streams. It was encouraging to see this clean-up event move forward and raise environmental awareness through our youth. Every little bit of trash collected will make a big difference in our community taking action towards litter prevention.
The Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland counties rolled out the new Southwest Ohio Agricultural Conservation Menu (SOACM) website recently. The SOACM website was created to be a one-stop clearinghouse for all agriculture resource programs and will provide information needed to choose the right Best Management Practices (BMP’s) that will enhance your farming operation. Visit www.soacm.com for more details.
All Highland Soil and Water Conservation District programs and services are offered on a non-discriminatory basis without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.