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The Power of Partnerships

The Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) are a formidable group in Ohio. Typical Ohio SWCDs are not big government agencies, but somehow the small staffs of each of the SWCDs cover a lot of ground—no pun intended. Throughout the state and locally, SWCDs nurture and rely on collaboration with partners to get conservation on the ground.

Most of Ohio’s SWCDs were formed in the 1940’s, not long after the infamous Dust Bowl. In those early years, the federal Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service) worked in tandem with local SWCDs to address soil erosion. To this day, that partnership continues to deliver much-needed technical and financial assistance to local landowners related to natural resource concerns.

As awareness of the connection between erosion, sedimentation and water quality grew, so did the SWCDs’ desire and need to form new partnerships. Local SWCDs flourished with valuable assistance provided through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources. In addition to technical help, the Division also provided guidance to help SWCDs navigate administrative and regulatory issues.

Ohio’s SWCDs also rely on their partnership with the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD). The OFSWCD helps to clarify legislative issues, works to promote SWCD concerns statewide and provides training and development programs that expand the SWCDs’ expertise.

Locally, the Cuyahoga SWCD is blessed to have partnerships with 27 communities, local and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations, churches, schools, teachers, “friends” groups, and volunteers. Working in collaboration with our partners, the Cuyahoga SWCD has grown and made great strides in protecting and restoring vital soil and water resources in Cuyahoga County.

The most important partnership, however, is between our staff and the Board of Supervisors. This partnership has enabled the Cuyahoga SWCD to thrive. Cuyahoga SWCD staff and Supervisors are committed to each other, the organization, identifying local resource concerns and implementing an array of conservation initiatives.

On behalf of the Cuyahoga SWCD, you are invited to participate in any and all of our programs and events. The Cuyahoga SWCD website is a great resource with program updates, resource information and links to many of our partners.

Mark your calendar. This September the Cuyahoga SWCD is teaming up with our agriculturally-related partners to provide two programs. On Thursday, September 24, Cuyahoga SWCD and the Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau are hosting the 66th Annual Meeting, which will be held from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville. Join us for our annual highlights, supervisor election and recognition of this year’s Conservation Heroes. Cuyahoga Valley Career Center students will make and serve tasty nibbles from locally-sourced produce. On Saturday, September 26, the Cuyahoga SWCD, Cuyahoga Farm Bureau, NRCS, and OSU Extension are hosting Growing Success from the Ground Up, Part 2, at the Stearn’s Homestead in Parma. Local and regional experts will cover a lot of ground —from seasonal high tunnels, to soil health, resource management and cover crops, plus some great things to take home!

Blog Author: Janine Rybka, District Administrator

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