June 2022
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Water Quality Tips
What can we do to improve water quality?
Water quality is an important aspect of environmental health. It affects us all - no matter where you live or who you are. We all need clean water. In our local streams, you will find the water that we drink and where we recreate. It is a part of our local ecosystem.

One of the biggest problems for Ohio streams is sediment - where loose soil aka dirt particles wash into the waterway. It causes the stream to look cloudy and become muddy. This can become a serious problem for the stream and the aquatic animals that live there. Preventing dirt from entering the stream is how we can decrease the amount of sediment in our streams and preserving the health of the stream.

We can all make small changes and sacrifices at home and at work to contribute to a better environment and healthier waterways. It requires just a small amount of effort to make an important impact. In fact, some of you may already be doing things to help without even realizing it!
What can you do to help water quality? Check out these ideas:
Stream Quality Monitoring

Stream quality monitoring (aka SQM) is a technique for scientists and citizens alike to assess the health and quality of a stream by examining the critters (macroinvertebrates) that live in the stream and the conditions of the stream. Some critters are far more tolerant to pollution than others, so if you only find critters that are extremely tolerant to pollution, than the stream might have some pollution issues. If you find a mix of critters that are sensitive to pollution, then you could reasonably conclude that the stream is relatively healthy and has little pollution happening.

Franklin Soil and Water staff and interns recently went out to learn about SQM and accessed Hellbranch Run near Galloway - a major tributary of the national and scenic river Big Darby Creek. They found a great mix of species including pollution sensitive Dragonflies and pollution tolerant Leaches. This is a good sign that Hellbranch Run is a relatively healthy stream and is home to a wide variety of species.

Want to get involved in SQM? You can become volunteer to do SQM! Check out these local organizations for potential SQM opportunities:
Take the Water Quality Partner Pledge

Are you a small business owner or employee? Join the Water Quality Pledge Program (WQP)! Take the Water Quality Partner pledge to tell us and your local municipality that you are committed to water quality by following some best management practices and tips to keep our waterways clean.

Businesses who pledge will receive clean water tips and information, recognition on our website and social media, and a window cling to show your colleagues and customers that you are a Water Quality Partner.

If your business is in the City of Columbus, you can sign the GreenSpot business pledge instead!
NOAA Grant Urban Heat Island Study and Volunteers
Volunteer for the
Urban Heat Island Study

Dude with sign…. is right! Columbus and partners are looking for volunteers to help map out the hottest areas of the city and surrounding areas during an extreme heat event. On a day between August 5th and 17th volunteers will become Street Scientists and drive or navigate their way around the city, collecting valuable data. Click here to register or email David R. Celebrezze at drcelebrezze@columbus.gov
Question of the Month
June is Great Outdoors Month and Pollinator Month! How did you celebrate?
Visited a park
Went hiking
Rode a bike
Planted native plants
Volunteered for the Urban Heat Island Study
None of these... yet!
Here are the full results from May's poll asking what folks will do to help prevent erosion:

Plant native plants and trees

Use a rain barrel

Install a rain garden

Grow healthy turf grass

I haven't decided yet!
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Subscribe to the monthly newsletter called Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Learn more at www.backyardhabitat.info and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org