New Fund Established to Support Stewardship of Licking River Watershed
A new effort to preserve and improve parts of the Licking River watershed was announced on Wednesday.
Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky announced with community partners the Licking River Conservation and Greenway Fund to support land and water conservation, and greenway initiatives.
“This is an exciting, and critical, fund for us to offer Northern Kentucky,” said Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson, in the announcement. “It shows the breadth of partnerships we’re able to create as a community foundation serving Northern Kentucky. Together, we can better address the many diverse needs of our community, including helping to preserve the natural and historical heritage of the Licking River.”
Through the new fund Horizon Community Funds and supporting donors will gather financial resources to invest in the conservation and stewardship of the Licking River, while helping to raise awareness of its value as a natural, historical, and economic resource, a release said.
The Licking River, named for the many prehistoric salt springs and licks in the region, is a historic and natural resource for both Northern Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth. With ties to Native American history, the Revolutionary War, the Underground Railroad, and the state’s original bourbon journey, the Licking River watershed also sustains a wide range of biodiversity and boasts more mussel species than the entire continent of Africa.
Within the Northern Kentucky area, most of the Licking River watershed exists in Campbell and Kenton counties. Several creeks in the area act as tributaries to the river.
Local officials and project partners applauded the new effort.
“The Licking River is an incredible natural resource in our community," said Kenton Co. Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann. "The Conservation and Greenway Fund will be another tool available to help protect this asset and make it accessible to folks for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping and a whole host of outdoor activities. The work to restore and conserve the Licking River watershed will be generational, but all great efforts start with seemingly small steps forward that compound significantly over time. If you want to be a part of potentially the largest land and water conservation effort in Kenton County’s history, let me know. We want to work with you.”
“The Licking River is central to the story of Northern Kentucky," said Campbell Co. Judge/Executive Steve Pendery. "The streams of twenty-three Kentucky counties lead to this place, and hundreds of years of the Commonwealth’s history flow along with it. The Licking River Conservation and Greenway Fund fills a gap in the tools available to our community to conserve and activate this natural asset. I appreciate Horizon Community Funds’ partnership in creating this mechanism, and hope that it fulfills its potential to assist in conserving and restoring the watershed’s corridor. This is a long-term project, but I’m excited at the steps being taken forward and am confident that our younger generations will see it through and celebrate its success.”
“Setting up this conservation and greenway fund, and bringing the many tools of Horizon Community Funds to the effort, will be foundational in reaching long-term goals for development of the Licking River as a leading destination for recreational and environmental tourism," said Rich Boehne, a member of Horizon Community Funds council of trustees. "The fund also will be a platform for supporting and facilitating investments in the conservation and health of this critical watershed that binds together a significant portion of the Commonwealth.”
“The opportunity that has arisen and made possible through the Licking River Conservation and Greenway Fund has connected numerous organizations for the purpose of land conservation and recreational uses," said Amy Winkler, district coordinator of Campbell County Conservation District. "The Campbell County Conservation District looks forward to working with these groups through our common goal of being good stewards of the land and highlighting the natural beauty of the Licking River Corridor. Our Hawthorne Crossing Conservation Area is just one step toward conserving the Licking River corridor in Campbell County.”
“On the map, it may serve as the official boundary line between the counties, but in reality, the Licking River brings the people of Northern Kentucky together," said Chris Kaeff of the Kenton County Soil & Water Conservation District. "It is an essential feature of our shared landscape, our shared heritage, and our shared future. The new Licking River Conservation and Greenway Fund will provide critical resources to the public agencies and nonprofits, on both sides of the river, who are dedicated to improving the health and vitality of this magnificent waterway. The Kenton County Conservation District welcomes the opportunity to work with new partners through the Fund in order to protect the natural beauty of the Morning View Heritage Area and enhance public recreational access to the river.”
"As stewards of the land, Northern Kentucky residents and stakeholders have an opportunity to elevate land conservation and stream restoration to the same level of reverence and commitment afforded by the community to values such as public safety, education, and economic vitality," said Donavan Hornsby, of the Campbell County Conservancy. "Many recognize that these core values are interdependent and crucial to our collective future. Realization of our potential as a region will require acceleration and deepening of conservation's impacts. We greatly appreciate Horizon Community Funds’ commitment to and investment in that realization."
"Many of us drive over the Licking River on a daily basis, but few have an opportunity to interact with the scenic and historic waterway," said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella. "The unprecedented multi-jurisdictional effort to conserve and celebrate the Licking River corridor will make this amazing asset more accessible to Northern Kentuckians. The Licking River Conservation and Greenway Fund is a critical tool to enable the community to take part in preserving this natural resource for future generations.”
Learn more at www.horizonfunds.org.