I grew up playing in the streams of Euclid Creek and on the beaches of Lake Erie. I was taught from a very young age how fortunate I am to live on Lake Erie and that it was our job as a community to protect Lake Erie and its waterways. Prior to moving back to Cleveland for an internship with Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) I lived in Toledo for the past 7 years participating in a variety of Lake Erie and Great Lakes research at the University of Toledo where I received my B.S. in Environmental Science and where I am working on my M.S. in Environmental Science. In the summer of 2014 the City of Toledo was forced to shut down its water system when a harmful algae bloom formed near the water intake and 400,000 people were suddenly without drinking water. I saw the impact it had on my community and I knew I wanted to make a commitment to improve and protect our water and my community.
This summer I was the Watershed and Natural Resource Intern at CSWCD, I had the chance to work with people who are committed to bettering their communities and water resources, Jared Bartley (Rocky River Watershed Coordinator), Claire Posius (Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator), and Elizabeth Hiser (Natural Resources Coordinator). Working with people who share the same passion for community and water quality has been an amazing experience. During this internship, I have been exposed to a variety of experiences including monitoring conservation easements, learning how to assess stormwater basins and other stormwater control measures, participating in community outreach events, water quality monitoring, and using the Bank Erosion Hazard Index to assess erodibility of streams. The most rewarding part of this internship for me was getting to work with community members with a variety of different backgrounds from public officials to private land owners, all of whom share a passion to protect water quality. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and I know this experience has strengthened my commitment to protecting our water resources.
Blog Author: Kristen Hebebrand, Watershed and Natural Resource Intern