The past year has sure been a busy one at the Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) in the areas of technical assistance, educational programming, nutrient management, ditch maintenance, and many other areas. This week’s column will feature just some of the many achievements of the Paulding SWCD throughout the year and every year since 1949.
Conservation education is just one of the many ways in which the Paulding SWCD reaches out to serve the people of Paulding County. Our office has a variety of programs that are offered to youth in all the school districts within Paulding County. Programs are offered to adult groups, 4-H clubs, and many more.Topics include ecosystems, geology, soils, water quality, forestry, and wildlife, to name a few. In 2019, our office gave over 300 presentations to school or adult groups for a total reach of 4,000 people.
In addition to classroom visits to Paulding County schools, the office also had field trips to the Black Swamp Nature Center. We had students from Paulding Elementary After School, Paulding fourth grade, Grover Hill fourth grade, and Wayne Trace High School take part in nature center scavenger hunts/tours. Our annual fifth-grade field day, held in September, brought in nearly 300 students from across Paulding County to the Black Swamp Nature Center and Paulding County Fairgrounds. Additionally, over 185 tree seedlings were donated to first-graders across Paulding County in honor of Arbor Day.
The Paulding SWCD was also busy at the Black Swamp Nature Center throughout the year in which some improvements were made to the area. Trails were cut back to allow for enjoyment of the trail system. A pollinator prairie garden is also in progress on the lawn of the Nature Center, with more to be seen as 2020 approaches. Many likely saw the amazing crop of black-eyed Susans that bloomed much of the summer season.
In May, more than 350 students from Paulding High School came out and completed many tasks such as mulching, tree/animal ID, pulling weeds, trimming trails, installing bird, bat, and goose boxes, and many additional tasks. A huge thank you to these students for coming out and making a difference in their community.
In the area of technical assistance, most of the time was dedicated to drainage concerns. Several group ditch projects were completed in 2019, including John Russell Ditch in Jackson Township and Melody Acres Ditch in Paulding Township. The John Wollam Ditch is also in the works in Jackson and Brown Townships.
The office also is working on several grassed waterway projects along with the small grains and working lands buffer cost share programs. Altogether, more than $1 million has been committed to Paulding County, with funds going towards cost-share payments for the small grains and buffer program, a fertilizer placement tool bar, watershed coordinator program, and watershed planning efforts, just to name a few.
New this year was the addition of a fertilizer placement tool, thanks to a grant received from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The grant will cover costs to purchase the tool and tractor, in addition to costs associated with running the tool. Contact the SWCD Office to sign up your acres.
The ditch maintenance division of the SWCD office was quite busy in 2019 as well, taking upon many projects. The ditch maintenance division maintains approximately 277 miles of ditches throughout Paulding County with more being added. They perform annual inspections of ditches, as well as daily maintenance to include such duties as vegetation management, erosion control, dip out, and reconstruction.In 2019, they cleaned 3.6 miles of ditches, cleared 21 miles of brush, and hauled 285 tons of quarried rock used for bank stabilization. Control structures at 18 sites were repaired including rock chutes, bank stabilization, and berm drains. Additionally, 53 ditches were sprayed, totaling 6,050 gallons of mix used.
Several programs are currently underway at Paulding SWCD. Signup continues for the working lands buffer cost share program, small grains cost share program, and the nutrient applicator tool bar. Be sure to also fill out a brief watershed planning survey online at www.pauldingswcd.org to identify projects for future funding sources in Paulding County.
While 2019 was a great year for the Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District, we are sure that 2020 will be just as good as we serve the residents of Paulding County. Don’t hesitate to call the office at 419-399-4771 or stop by if we can be of service to you! Also, be sure to keep up to date with our Facebook page and website www.pauldingswcd.org for upcoming events and programs.