In 2017, Integrating Trees Into Stormwater Management Design and Policy – A Guide for Local Decision Makers was completed by OKI and partners as a national tool and resource for promoting, facilitating and increasing the use of trees for stormwater management.
Despite the proven value of trees for reducing stormwater flows and pollutants, there is widespread lack of understanding, acceptance and credibility of their use for managing stormwater. This project, funded in part by the USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, is helping to overcome these barriers.
This tool has the capability for users to create a document customized for their own community that includes design, policy, and ordinance templates specific to their community. Over 1000 attendees participated in one of a series of webinars produced and conducted through 2017 in partnership with national associations including the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), the American Planning Association (APA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). By early 2018, the site had been visited over 12,000 times and had over 300 registered users nationwide.
International Conference on Ecology and Transportation
In May, staff participated on an expert panel discussion about the FHWA Eco-Logical program as part of the conference. OKI was the only regional planning organization to be invited to participate – other panelist include US Fish and Wildlife, US Forest Service, and US EPA representatives. Staff provided a presentation showcasing the OKI Environmental Viewer.
OKI staff actively participated on the Green Umbrella newly renamed Greenspace Team. OKI contributed data and technical support during the preparation of the Greenprint with Protected Lands map used to help measure Team’s progress toward their 2020 Goal to increase the acreage of protected greenspace by 8,000 acres.
The OKI Greenspace Office continued to provide technical support and build momentum for the Taking Root campaign launched in late 2013 and becoming a non-profit organization in 2016. Taking Root is a collaborative effort to address the local tree crisis and also helps retain forested area, which is a major issue identified in OKI environmental consultations on the transportation plan. OKI staff continues to support this organization through active participation on the Taking Root Board.
Water Quality Program
In 2017, OKI analyzed relevant water quality and soils data in consultation with our Ohio county health departments to help local communities and the Ohio EPA prioritize areas with high concentrations of home sewage treatment systems. This analysis will be used to inform areas of greatest sewer service needs having the most beneficial regional water quality impact.
Whitewater Watershed Study
OKI continued to actively participate on the Whitewater River Watershed Steering Committee. In 2017, assistance with the Whitewater River Watershed Cost-share Program for watershed conservation projects and preparation of educational workshops and opportunities were provided to the watershed coordinator for the Dearborn County Soil & Water Conservation District, which is implementing the federally funded, state administered grant to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Whitewater River watershed.
This participation continues implementation of the 2016 Whitewater River Management Plan that OKI helped create the plan in collaboration with Dearborn County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Whitewater River Watershed Steering Committee.
OKI’s Water Quality Program also upheld long-standing staff support commitments to the:
- Groundwater Committee, which provides technical education to public water system operators, regulators and others concerned about drinking water protection
- OKI Regional Conservation Council, a collegial forum for county conservation districts of the Tri-State
- Ohio River Paddlefest, over 2000 people paddled down the Ohio in August
- Stream sampling and data sharing support for:
Regional Clean Air Program
OKI’s Regional Clean Air Program continues to provide valuable information to the community, businesses and the media concerning air quality topics through the “Do Your Share for Cleaner Air” campaign. OKI promotes the clean air message by educating the public on the harmful effects of ozone and particulate matter pollution, while also teaching individuals how they can help to reduce air pollution.