In the Media - Mill Creek flows fun, education, economic value
Mill Creek flows fun, education, economic value
Kelly McBride, email@example.com 2:30 p.m. EDT March 25, 2014
The March 22 paddle down the Mill Creek to the northern boundary of Reading started at Twin Creek Preserve in Sharonville. (Photo: Kelly McBride/The Community Press )
- Mill Creek awash with activities
- New headquarters offers on-site ideas for homeowners
The Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities has a new headquarters, new chairman of the board and new programs to bring awareness of the importance of the creek and its tributaries.
The office, moved from downtown to a house in Reading, puts the organization closer to its purpose, with the house serving as a real-life training environment.
The council’s goals are education, outreach and economic development within the communities through which the Mill Creek and its tributaries flow.
“There is the potential for economic development, with this natural resource as an asset,” Mill Creek board chairman Richard Osgood said.
Osgood, who was recently elected to chair the board of trustees of the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities, is a Wyoming resident and the Building and Planning Director for the city of Sharonville.
“That’s the bottom line: it’s an asset and underutilized resource,” said Jennifer Eismeier, executive director of the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities.
Eismeier is also a resident of Wyoming, where she serves as a member of City Council.
The council is watershed-based, with additional focus on the creek’s tributaries, and emphasis on outreach through the Mill Creek Yacht Club’s canoe trips, among other activities.
“When we’re out on the water, we see more interesting things,” Eismeier said. “We’re more likely to see wildlife, and it’s really lovely.
More than two dozen local officials from communities including Sharonville, Evendale and Reading, traveled the creek by canoe, from Twin Creek Preserve in Sharonville to the northern boundary of Reading March 22.
Other upcoming events include a cleanup day April 18, where volunteers will clear trash from the water and banks.
Residents can enjoy the water independent of these service activities, as well.
“Anybody can drop a canoe in the water on their own,” Osgood said, suggesting Twin Creek Preserve as a starting point.
“It’s an outstanding place to go to experience the Mill Creek,” Eismeier said.
Twin Creek Preserve has undergone a transformation that reconfigured the waterway to help manage the surrounding flood plain and invigorate natural habitat. To enhance the property further, soccer fields were developed with contribution from Cincinnati Sub-Zero, which backs up to the property in Sharonville.
The Twin Creek Preserve project solved a drainage problem while helping the environment and providing recreation for local residents.
“Rather than let it (the creek) flood a business, you let it flood into a drainage area,” Osgood said of the project. “You let it flood, it dissipates, then it doesn’t flood the area around it.”
“That’s how we manage the storm water, to reduce flood damage,” Eismeier said.
“In turn,” Osgood said, “it impacts business and economic development.”
One concern that community members had about the Mill Creek has been addressed: water quality.
With a program in place to monitor the impact of stressors on the urban watershed, water quality is a priority.
“The Ohio EPA grades water quality, so the target is to get a good grade,” Osgood said.
“We want the Mill Creek to meet the standards of the EPA that indicate that the stream is functioning to support diverse and healthy fish and bug communities,” Eismeier said. “They are indicators of the entire system.”
Moving the offices into the house at 1223 Jefferson St. has provided an opportunity to educate the public about things homeowners can do to manage storm water, as well.
Eismeier pointed to the rain garden, with rain barrels to collect rain water that would otherwise drain into a storm sewer.
The key, she said, is to use it to water the lawn instead of dumping the barrels, which puts the water into the storm sewer and defeats the purpose.
Other tips include:
• Pick up pet waste, so it doesn’t end up in the storm water system;
• Be thoughtful about when and how much lawn fertilizer is applied; and
• Plant trees, to reduce erosion along stream banks, moderate the temperature and provide habitat.
“These are things people can do on their own properties,” Eismeier said.
More information about the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities, including activities, history and how to become a member, can be found at www.millcreekwatershed.org. Membership helps to offset the cost of programs offered by the organization.