Master Rain Gardener Program Class

OKI continued partnering with the region’s soil and water conservation districts, Sanitation District No. 1, and the Metropolitan Sewer District to train a third and fourth cohort of students through the Master Rain Gardener program. The two six-week courses, conducted at Butler County SWCD offices in Hamilton and Clermont County’s new Clingman Park, trained residents on how to design and build a rain garden, culminating in participants building one of their own. Twenty-one students completed the course and six rain gardens have been installed to date.

Southeast Aquatic Resource Partners Crossing Training

The topography and streams of the OKI region equate to many bridges and culverts across these waterways. Often these crossings create barriers to fish moving up and down stream, resulting in impaired waterways. The Southeast Aquatic Resource Partners (SARP) maintains a national database of stream crossings and developed a systematic evaluation process to determine if the crossing creates a barrier.

This data is run through a prioritization model that allows local jurisdictions to make decisions about replacing or mitigating those structures to eliminate the barrier. In October, OKI worked with SARP, the Hamilton Conservation District, and SD1 to run a two-day “train the trainer” session with 15 people. Newly trained OKI staff will work with local partners to host and conduct additional classes in the coming years.

Ohio River Planning Efforts

Efforts to protect, restore and improve access to the Ohio River were many and varied this year. OKI joined with communities from Ironton, Ohio, to West Point, Ky., as a founding member of the Ohio River Way. OKI continues to host and maintain the Ohio River Way Digital Guide and take an active role in mapping publicly owned and protected greenspaces along the Ohio River Way corridor, with the goal of identifying gaps in public access.

OKI also hosted an in-person listening session for the National Wildlife Association and Ohio River Basin Alliance’s efforts to develop an Ohio Basin Restoration and Protection Plan. The results of the listening session were released in a report titled “Community Priorities for the Ohio River Basin Restoration and Protection Plan.” OKI continues to promote the interests of the OKI region in this basin-wide planning effort.