As the year comes to a close—our 70th, the staff is putting on the finishing touches and getting ready for some much-deserved time off with friends and family. This is a time to be grateful and I want to thank the board, staff, our contributors, partners and volunteers for the abundance of opportunities to share our passion for our natural resources with the people of Cuyahoga County.

This year we provided additional services to two cities and it looks like more may come on board next year! We are directly delivering services to nearly every community within the county. Perennial favorites like rain barrel workshops, stream cleanups, tree plantings and volunteer monitoring attracted 5200 participants. School programs (39), teacher workshops (9), and the annual poster contest engaged nearly 3,600 teachers and students. Five targeted mailings (Life at the Water’s Edge; Slow It Down, Spread it Out, Soak it In; and Converting Turf (outreach to churches) were directly mailed to 53,709 recipients.

Staff conducted more than 2200 monthly inspections on active construction sites in the 17 communities that we work with, and 1220 inspections of post construction stormwater control structures. Developers, site managers, community leaders, homeowner’s associations and others seek and value the assistance provided by staff.

The watershed programs in Euclid Creek, Cahoon and Porter Creeks, and Rocky River celebrated the completion of Non-Point Source Implementation Strategy Plans, successful stream restoration projects (Willoughby-Eastlake School of Innovation and Royalton Farms), plus the super cool trial run of the Floating Wetlands. Volunteers—both young and old contributed hundreds of hours to assist with project implementation, including tree plantings and invasive plant removals. Grants were received to repair degraded soils, plant trees and native plants; for school programs and supplies; and stream restoration planning/design, stream stabilization how-to workshops and implementation.

Like a kid on Christmas, it was a pleasure to watch the year unfold. So many wonderful programs and events done to protect and improve our precious soil and water resources. As time marches forward, there will be many great memories, but here are a few of this year’s best:

  • The “Marie Kondo” themed Instagram post about caring for you storm drain went viral; and great media coverage
  • Master Rain Gardeners got off to a great start
  • Hundreds of people took the Salt and/or Litter pledges
  • The Cuyahoga Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Program got underway
  • The NUTS program-Native Urban Seed Starters for schools has been a big hit
  • Collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on workforce development aimed at green infrastructure maintenance; and another collaborative project to scan green infrastructure plans for easier access in the field
  • Requests for training and technical assistance from outside the county

Happy Holidays and New Year!

Blog author: Janine Rybka, Director

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