WILMINGTON — Former first lady of Ohio Hope Taft was in town Monday to publicize the 50th anniversary of the Ohio Scenic Rivers Act, and to spotlight the Little Miami River Watershed region which includes Clinton County.
The Little Miami Wild and Scenic River was the first river in Ohio to be designated a state and national scenic river.
At the Clinton County commissioners office, Taft was joined by Bill Schieman with the Little Miami Watershed Network and by Don Spurling with the local group Clinton StreamKeepers. They heard commissioners formally salute the scenic rivers act passed in February 1968 by the Ohio Legislature.
The two biggest pollution threats to the Little Miami, said Schieman, are development and agriculture. That’s because the river runs through land that on the river’s west side is heavily developed while on the east side is dominated by farms.
“The Little Miami, its whole length, it’s like looking down the barrels of a double-barrel shotgun,” Schieman said by way of comparison.
Development can make for water quality problems due to the runoff from roofs and roads, he said. And farm activities that cause pollution include improper, excessive or poorly timed application of pesticides and fertilizer, and poorly located or managed animal feeding operations, according to the EPA.
During the appointment with commissioners, Spurling said that after an investigator found some dead fish by Xidas Park in downtown Wilmington, it was determined that a cleaning material used to clean the courthouse dome had somehow gotten into the stream and killed fish. He noted there is an underground stream that runs underneath the courthouse.
Taft followed up Spurling’s comments, saying it was a good indication that anything done in a watershed can affect the waterway.
Clinton County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Taylor Stuckert attended the meeting. He said, “We know in past studies Lytle Creek has often been called out as a problem child for the Little Miami watershed. And so we want to do more to correct those issues.” Lytle Creek winds east to west through Wilmington and into western Clinton County where it enters the Todds Fork waterway northeast of Clarksville.
Also Monday, commissioners proclaimed May 7 through 12 as Economic Development Week. The proclamation was presented to Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Daniel G. Evers.
The commissioners’ resolution refers to support for “expanding career opportunities and improving quality of life.”
Afterward, Evers told the News Journal a priority for economic development in the county is to have a diversity of high-quality jobs. That holds, he said, from the standpoints both of recruiting new employers, and also the retention-and-expansion of businesses already here.
He said that two weeks ago a group of people met in Blanchester with an existing employer to talk about “how do we facilitate possible re-investment?”
Diversity solidifies the local economy by having a variety of employers and investors, said Evers. It also maximizes the opportunity for supply-chain partners to look at the community as a place to be, he added.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.