We talked with Jaimie Johnson, Watershed Coordinator at the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conversation District, about how to minimize your stormwater runoff and handle spring weather in Northeast Ohio.
The mission of Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conversation District (CSWCD) is to advocate and implement best management practices for conservation of land and aquatic resources in a developed environment through education, stewardship and technical assistance. “As stewards of soil and water conservation, a big part of our operations involves resident education,” says Jaimie. “Each year CSWCD focuses on a particular educational theme, and this year’s theme is Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In which encourages residents to improve their stormwater management.” There are four key focus areas.
1. Educate Yourself on Local Waterways. Where are your local streams? How healthy are they? What are the main issues in your corner of the watershed? “North Olmsted is unique in that it contains two watersheds, the Rocky River Watershed for properties south of Lorain Road and the Cahoon Watershed for properties north of Lorain Road,” says Jaimie. “These watersheds are important because they are direct contributors to Lake Erie, as all tributaries contained within each watershed directly impact the lake’s overall health. So even though North Olmsted might not have lake access, residents’ actions still play a vital role in maintaining the quality of our lake.”
2. Explore Your Local Rivers and Streams. Aside from depending on it for drinking water or your livelihood, nothing builds appreciation for a river like getting up close and personal with it. Says Jaimie, “We encourage everyone to share their favorite spots with friends and family, since they are meant to be enjoyed by all. Wade, fish, canoe, skip rocks or picnic on river and stream banks, just be sure not to trespass.”
3. Implement Watershed-Friendly Practices around Your Home. Each of us has an opportunity to do our part by making changes to how we manage our lawns and the stormwater runoff we generate. “There are many ways to implement watershed-friendly practices in daily life,” says Jaimie. “Residents are encouraged to use organic fertilizer to ensure that their lawns and gardens aren’t over-fertilized, install rain gardens and rain barrels to reduce the amount of storm water that flows off their rooftop, driveways and lawns when it rains, plant native plants to increase stormwater infiltration, properly dispose of household hazardous wastes and pick up after their pets.”
4. Get Involved. In addition to providing traditional educational resources, another key part of CSCWD’s mission is to offer opportunities for citizens to get involved in preserving and improving their local waterways. “We offer a ton of year-round programming that touches on a wide range of subjects, but it really starts with people taking a look at our list of resources and schedule of events to decide what they are most excited about,” says Jaimie. “We offer everything from homeowner workshops and trainings around the region to annual cleanups in the Rocky River and Cahoon Creek Watersheds, as well as the other watersheds in the county. Visit our website or give us a call to get linked with information on our programming.”
Learn more about Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conversation District at https://cuyahogaswcd.org/ or give Jaimie a call at 216-524-6580 ext. 1004.