Cliff Clay (foreground) explains his need for RC&D support to establish a Native American Garden in University Circle’s Cultural Gardens. Listening is the RC&D Executive Board. Counter-clockwise from left: President Adrian Achtermann, Volunteer Richard Kennelley, Past President Patricia Carey and Coordinator John Niedzialek
If I were to title this photograph, I’d call it a portrait of concern and compassion, which is a pretty good summary of the way the RC&D Council approaches its responsibilities.
Less apparent is the frustration the Council feels in trying to address the needs of the counties it serves with its diminishing funding and manpower.
Some of the areas in which RC&D contributed to Lake County:
The Council offers its expertise in best management practices for development to Lake County Commissioners, educating them about the value of green space in development planning.
It sent Lake County Commissioners a letter of support in favor of Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District’s efforts to establish erosion and sediment control programs for new construction projects.
RC&D educates nurseries about best practices to conserve the productivity of Lake County’s farmlands. Consequently, Lake County’s nurseries boast the highest economic return per acre of land than any other county in Ohio.
Similar plans are underway to help Ohio’s wine industry reach its great potential for growth.
Finally, RC&D promotes healthier, fresher food and the growth of farmers’ markets. It also encourages collaboration, as seen in the success of their Hispanic Grower/Farmers Market Project.
Other services to Lake County in the last 10 years:
Bringing Federal Dollars and Expertise to Lake County RC&D secured almost $1,500,000 to protect 33 miles of streamside properties, to assist county landowners in erosion control, to enable the Perry YMCA to install erosion control practices on their trails and to help North Perry Village, Painesville Township and Madison Township secure funding to protect 3 farms with agricultural easements.
Leveraging State and Private Dollars to Serve Lake County The Council brought in more than $600,000 from the Ohio EPA, Federal EPA, ODNR, Storer and Holden Foundations to protect the Grand River and to reconstruct a wetland pond for educational purposes for all Lake County schools at the Perry YMCA.
Creating Educational Materials The Council published and distributed manuals and videos to assist landowners in understanding development and conservation options for their property, to assist developers and communities to design better development projects, and to provide tools for expansion and retention for those engaged in entrepreneurial farming.
Services RC&D can provide with the help of TEAM RC&D volunteers:
1) Give a Day to an RC&D project by helping ship processed deer meat made available from the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry project to local food kitchens that are feeding the poor and disabled this holiday season.
2) Give a Day to an RC&D sponsored workshop giving a talk on resource topics such as farmland preservation or conservation development practices.
3) Give a Day to an RC&D project working with a Soil and Water Conservation District on storm water control or soils training.
4) Give a Day to training students on soils at the Environthon.
5) Give a Day helping Hispanic growers to learn about agriculture marketing of their products or helping with agronomic training of the growers in the field.
6) Give a Day at a fundraiser for gaining resources to help the Native American Indians create a local community garden.
7) Give a Day training students working on watershed projects as part of Council’s Collaborative Learning and Environmental Action Network Project.
8) Give a Day helping Council with its Website.
9) Give a Day helping put back together the office and its files due to the chaotic and sudden closure and removal of office materials.
10) Give a Day to a partnering non-profit group working with the RC&D Council on a project. For example, help to establish a conservation easement with a landowner to preserve their land or help identify properties suitable for the Wetland Reserve Program that Council Officially adopted as a project.