ASHLAND – Water quality in Lake Erie has been one of the major concerns for Ohioans, but the water quality of Ashland County should be just as important to those in this area.

That is why Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District is initiating a series of meetings to identify and prioritize our local water quality needs, beginning with the Lang Creek watershed.

The first Lang Creek Watershed planning meeting will be Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Ashland County Service Center. The meeting will be the first opportunity for community members to voice concerns about water quality in the watershed.

“Volunteer or community input is very important to watershed management,” said Erica White, Ashland SWCD district technician. “In order for our office to know what needs a change or improvement in the watershed, we need to hear from the people within that watershed.”

Lang Creek encompasses parts of Clear Creek, Orange, Milton, and Montgomery townships including the city of Ashland. The Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District is working to develop a plan to identify challenges and needs of the watershed. In order to identify the threats to water quality in the Lang Creek watershed, partnerships with those along the creek, business owners, and those visiting Ashland County are a necessity.

“Although we do extensive research and investigating, there is no better way to find out what is happening in the watershed than from a person or business whose ‘backyard’ is our area of focus,” said White. “Community involvement also allows for concerns to be heard and possibly answered, and maybe your neighbor is willing to help eliminate your concerns. Networking is a vital part of 9 element planning.”

Lang Creek is the lowest scoring of the local sub-watersheds that capture tributary systems in Jerome Fork in terms of watershed health as well as being the most vulnerable to stormwater runoff. Covering 34.1 square miles, 21 percent of the Jerome Fork watershed flows into Lang Creek.

Ashland SWCD recently received a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture targeted to improving water quality in the Jerome Fork Watershed, which is home to over 50 percent of Ashland County’s population.

“Planning is essential to the development of an effective plan to improve watershed quality and management,” White said. “In order for our office to qualify and quantity watershed management needs, it is extremely important to have the community’s input and concerns.

“Part of watershed management is working together to better the quality of the watershed. We are organizing nine-element plan meetings to bring together residents, business owners and all other community members to collaborate, partner and brainstorm ideas to improve the watershed.”

For questions regarding the Lang Creek meeting, Jerome Fork watershed grant, or Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District, call White at 419-289-4828.

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