History of the Council
In 1995, 17 of 37 political jurisdictions in the watershed signed the original intergovernmental agreement on the banks of the Mill Creek. Since then, the Council has rallied communities and stakeholders to facilitate informed and thoughtful use of our most precious natural resource: water.
In April 1993, the Hamilton County Environmental Action Commission declared the Mill Creek the worst environmental problem in the greater Cincinnati area. A year later, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) issued a report on the creek’s water quality – it rated very poorly. Of the 27 miles of stream sampled, 24.7 miles were not attaining use designations for aquatic life habitat and recreation. River restoration proponents had been campaigning for action on the Mill Creek since the early 1970′s.
Two years after the OEPA's report, on April 17, 1996, American Rivers listed the Mill Creek in Cincinnati as one of the twenty most threatened waterways in North America, and by 1997, American Rivers had named the Mill Creek “the most endangered urban river in North America.”
On August 26, 1993, the Hamilton County Environmental Action Commission formed a steering committee to address the stream's condition and future. After the efforts on the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. were studied, a watershed management approach was adopted for the Mill Creek.
On June 21, 1995, representatives of 17 political jurisdictions met on the banks of the Mill Creek and signed a unique and historic intergovernmental agreement. They pledged to work together to save the stream and its drainage area from continued decline, and the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities was incorporated.
The Council has evolved since 1995 into a driving force for positive change in the Mill Creek watershed. The Council’s members include representatives from political jurisdictions, government agencies, business associations, industry, academia, environmental organizations, and recreation groups. Council projects, programs, and fundraising efforts have garnered the support of local, state, and federal elected officials. The watershed planning spearheaded by the Council encompasses everything from short term initiatives lasting a day (such as annual stream cleanups) to long-range strategies spanning decades. The work of the Council showcases a commitment to using common sense, sound scientific reasoning, and cost-effective approaches in addressing issues throughout the watershed in cooperation with local communities and residents, from whom the Council welcomes constructive input.