Background and History
In May 1971, the supervisors of nine county conservation districts discussed ways to promote conservation in the Tri-State. From that meeting evolved the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Conservation Council (RCC.)
Today, the RCC serves as a collegial forum for partners in conservation. It is a voluntary association of people who understand the benefits of cooperation. Group membership consists of representatives from the county conservation districts serving Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana. All nine counties are equals in the RCC with the group’s offices of Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer rotating among the member county conservation districts.
The RCC’s mission revolves around four Comprehensive Goals:
- Proper land use
- Prevention of erosion and sedimentation
- Environmental protection
- Surface water management
RCC staff support is provided by the Regional Planning Department of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). As the agency responsible for coordinating regional review of federally funded transportation projects and maintaining a multi-county water quality management plan, OKI often deals with natural resource issues. RCC members can help OKI by providing guidance culled from their years of practical experience. From time to time, RCC members have collaborated with OKI on federally funded water quality projects. Though changing personnel and policies have influenced OKI and the RCC since 1971, people of the RCC still provide OKI staff reliable advice by which to plan and evaluate natural resource management efforts.
The Relationship between the RCC and OKI
Of all the alliances that OKI Regional Council of Governments (OKI) has formed in the Tri-State, its partnership with the Regional Conservation Council (RCC) is one of the most natural.
OKI looks to the RCC for technical guidance on natural resource issues. The RCC’s member conservation districts have the education, experience and objectivity to provide good guidance. OKI trusts the RCC for impartial advice.
The RCC counts on OKI to provide staff support for group functions, such as the RCC’s Annual Meeting. And from time to time, the RCC’s conservation districts have recruited OKI staff for grant-funded projects, river cleanups, stream monitoring programs and educational events.
Much of the RCC’s early involvement with OKI concerned creation of the Regional Water Quality Management Plan in 1977. When plan updates are in order, OKI staff often asks the conservation districts for renewed guidance, especially on nonpoint source pollution.
The RCC helps maintain good relations between OKI and county conservation districts. All share an interest in sustainability and informed decision-making.
RCC’s Educational Role
Since 1971, the RCC has worked to educate the public about conservation. This can be challenging because stormwater pollution, erosion, sedimentation, urban sprawl and other forms of environmental degradation rarely happen in spectacular ways that command urgent widespread attention. Even though conservation measures may appear costly in the short term, they are vital in the long term to continuing economic development of the OKI region. In short, conservation pays off.
Because it encompasses nine counties in three states, the RCC is an ideal forum for educational discourse. The collegial organization strives to keep the flow of information free and the interagency contacts more frequent. This offers the RCC strength through diversity. It maintains a friendly atmosphere and encourages participation by conservation professionals and good citizens alike.