Harrison SWCD meets funding challenges head-on for second year


CADIZ, Ohio — Harrison Soil and Water Conservation has been facing funding challenges since 2008, when the county decreased its appropriation and later zeroed out the district in 2009. But, don’t count the District out yet.

The Harrison SWCD is seeking operational funds from a variety of sources to provide educational programs and technical services to the residents and landowners of Harrison County.

“We are determined to find funding to serve the landowners and residents of the county, even if that means thinking outside the box,” said Yvonne Ackerman, District Program Administrator.

New ideas

Out-of-the box ideas are nothing new to Harrison SWCD, who partnered with a local mining operation in 2009 to provide seeding recommendations for reclaimed mine land.

In 2010, the district partnered with Carroll and Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation Districts to provide conservation seedling and plant sales in each county.

“The tree and plant sales were a phenomenal success, and we are already making plans for the 2011 sale,” said Ackerman. In addition, Harrison SWCD provides administrative consulting work for Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District.

The district has also made a valiant effort to reduce the amount of spending, including utilizing the barter system to become involved with county activities.

Conservation Assistance Fund

The passage of S.B. 155 allowed the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission to develop the Conservation Assistance Fund. This fund will allow soil and water conservation districts that have been zeroed out at a local level, including Harrison SWCD, to apply for additional funding to help support their programs.

Districts may apply for up to $25,000 per year of additional state funds through this program for a maximum three out of seven consecutive years. Harrison SWCD will apply for this funding opportunity in July in hopes to utilize the funds to operate through the end of 2010.

Soil and Water Conservation Levy

Voters will be asked to help pass a levy to support the Harrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) during the primary election.

The Harrison Soil & Water Conservation Levy Committee is promoting a 1/4 mill levy, on behalf of Harrison SWCD. The cost to the average landowner, owning a $60,000 home, in Harrison County will be $4.60 per calendar year. The levy would generate up to $52,000 locally that can then be state matched to bring in additional funding.

The passage of S.B. 155 also allowed the Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Commission to develop a revised state match formula, which will provide a 1 to 1 match on the first $15,000 of local appropriations. In addition, anything over $15,000 received locally would then be matched on a percentage basis. If you would like to see the projected budget or ask questions about how levy funds will be utilized, please contact Yvonne Ackerman at 740-942-8837.

Historical Look at SWCD Funding

Harrison SWCD was zeroed out of the county budget in fiscal year 2009 and 2010.

The Harrison County Commissioners provided $12,900 to the District in 2008. Despite the lack of local funds, Harrison SWCD has continued to offer the majority of services and programs to the residents and landowners of Harrison County.


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