Why is soil important?
Soil (n) - The unconsolidated mineral or organic matter on the surface of the Earth that has been subjected to and shows effects of genetic and environmental factors of: climate (including water and temperature effects), and macro- and microorganisms, conditioned by relief, acting on parent material over a period of time. A product-soil differs from the material from which it is derived in many physical, chemical, biological, and morphological properties and characteristics.
In other words, it is important to us. Being in Boone County, one of the fastest growing counties in Kentucky, we have a wide variety of uses for our soil – such as farming, husbandry, gardening, and urbanizing!
What kind of soil do we have?
Boone County’s bedrock is composed of limestones and shales from the Ordovician Period (510-440 million years ago). The soils we find here range from clay to limestone to alluvium, giving us fertile soils we use for agriculture. But, we pay the price for our fertile soil, as our area is abundant with slope failures, erosion, and swelling. Check out a geological map of our county here.
Nearly 50% of Boone County is farmland. Our landscapes, clean streams, and fertile soils create an environment well-suited for many forms of agriculture. Small family farms are an important part of our community, contributing to the economic stability and well-being of Boone County residents.
Boone County has a wide variety of agricultural land use types, such as cropland (hay, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables), animal production (beef, dairy cattle, horses, goats, and poultry), and nurseries (greenhouses, trees, and floriculture).
Rivers, streams, ponds, groundwater...
Not only are they a part of our drinking water system, but they provide habitat for local wildlife, irrigation for agricultural production, and a significant amount of outdoor recreation opportunities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.
The rapid and continuous growth of Boone County's population not only increases the demand for clean water, but wastewater, storm water runoff, and negative impacts to aquatic ecosystems increase as well. Flooding, stream bank erosion, and pollution are some of the many concerns caused by urbanization.
Conserving water as an important natural resource for the benefit of all requires a collaborative effort among landowners, businesses, residents, government agencies, and private organizations. BCCDKY works together with community partners to protect and conserve our waterways through our watershed initiatives, agricultural water quality plans, and habitat improvement projects.
Want to see what the current conditions are in Northern Kentucky creeks? Check out USGS' Northern Kentucky Regions here.
What is a watershed?
A watershed, also known as a drainage basin, is an area of land that where all the water flows into one central body of water, such as a river, stream, or lake. It is important to remember that if the land in a
watershed is clean and healthy, the water will be, too!
Habitats of Boone County
Forest, fish, and wildlife are some of Boone County's most valuable resources, providing a multitude of products and outdoor recreation opportunities. We work closely with our community partners to maintain healthy, complex natural resources for the benefit of all.
Forests: Our forests are characterized by a wide number of over story trees, predominately oaks, hickories, and other hardwood species. In the under story, you can find a variety of ferns, shrubs, and wildflowers, which provide both food and protective covering for wildlife.
Fields: Kentucky's grasslands have almost disappeared since the days of early settlement, so it is important to protect our remaining habitat. Native grasses provide shelter and nutrition to animals such as quail, deer, turkey, small mammals, and songbirds.
Streams: Boone County has hundreds of miles of stream habitat, providing life for a variety of fish, invertebrates, and many other amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds which use the water for food or shelter.
Wetlands: Ponds, marshes, and bogs are very important habitats. They act as filters for preventing pollution from entering the groundwater, control flooding, and provide habitat for all kinds of animals including migrating birds.
You can visit these types of habitats at our local Boone County Parks, such as Middle Creek Park, Boone Woods Park, Conservancy Park, Central Park and Arboretum, Boone Cliffs State Nature Preserve, Dinsmore Woods Nature Preserve, Gunpowder Creek Nature Park, and more! Want a guided tour of these place for your school, scout, or church group? Give us a call to check for availability or visit our calendar of events for scheduled programs.
A healthy forest calls for a healthy community. Kentucky holds one of the most diverse hardwood species mix forest in the U.S. Around 48% of Kentucky is forestland, equivalent to about 12.4 million acres.
Our Kentucky trees are not only one of our moneymakers in the timber industry, they are important to our health. Trees are great in storing carbon (called carbon sinks) and releasing oxygen. This is through the process of photosynthesis. A Silver Maple tree, living approximately 25 years, can sequester 400 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). This process helps reduce excess CO2 emissions in the air. Too much of one greenhouse gas in the air can inhibit our breathing and harm our health.
Knowing what is native in Boone County forests is key to a healthy forest. There are several invasive species that can disrupt a healthy forest. A few local examples are Emerald Ash Borer, Amur Honeysuckle, Callery Pear, and more recently, the Asian Longhorned Beetle.
There are around 46 native trees to Boone County. Here is a list of Boone County's native trees up to date. Remember, these are just native to the county. There might be more types of trees in the area due to the planting of nonnative trees! Sometimes this is a benign act.
Want to identify trees on your own? Make sure you grab a whole leaf (not just a leaflet!) and find out here!
Biodiversity and Invasive Species
Biodiversity is a term which describes the variety of life in a habitat. Biodiversity is important because each living thing, whether it be a bird, insect, tree, or fungus, plays an important role in the ecosystem. For example, a greater number of plants in a forest brings a higher diversity of animals in need of food and shelter. Biodiversity is a sign of a healthy habitat.
Boone County is home to many habitat types, creating a highly biodiverse environment. At BCCDKY, we work in partnership with local land managers and organizations for the protection of all native Boone County species.
Emerald Ash Borers and Amur Honeysuckle are not the only invasive species we have in Boone County. Click here for more information.
What is all the buzz about recycling?
Recycling is not only easy and accessible, it helps our community! Recycling our unwanted materials reduce our landfills (Boone County's is in Walton, KY), preserves our natural resources, improves our economy, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and more.
However, Boone County cannot recycle everything. Be sure you know what is recyclable and, more importantly, what is not before doing your good deed!
You can work with us to learn how to recycle your food waste (AKA composting) in your backyard, school, or inside! Want a guided program for small-scale composting? Give us a call to check for availability or visit our calendar of events for scheduled programs.