Clintonville Area Pilot Project – BluePrint Columbus

Adena Brook in Clintonville is the site of a pilot project by the City of Columbus to investigate “the best method for eliminating the sanitary sewer overflow into Adena Brook in Whetstone Park.” The goal is to determine the best methods to reduce the amount of rain water that makes its way into the sanitary sewer system, causing the overflows. In addition, the city will be investigating green infrastructure options for updating its stormwater system. The goal of these updates is to clean and reduce the stormwater flow and help to protect our ravines and streams.

“Open House Events” are scheduled to provide a general overview about the project. The next open house will be held at Whetstone Shelter House 6 – 8 p.m. on June 29, 2015. Six additional neighborhood meetings will be held in July to provide specific information on the green infrastructure planned for specific streets.

For more information please visit the City of Columbus website for the Clintonville area pilot project, or view a short video about Blueprint Columbus.

Clintonville Area Commission Recognizes FLOW for Outstanding Service

On April 2, 2015, the Clintonville Area Commission recognized the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed for “outstanding service, leadership, and contributions to protecting the Olentangy River and surrounding lands.”

The Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed appreciates and is honored by this recognition from the Clintonville Area Commission. In addition, FLOW would like to thank the residents of Clintonville for their incredible support, participation and assistance in protecting our watershed.

Certificate of Recognition:
Resolution recognizing the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed.

Coming Attractions


FLOW has lots to choose from this year.

Tree planting
There are many  locations available through Green Columbus ( You can request free native tree seedlings for your own use.

Butterfly gardens
FLOW is looking for sites to plant three butterfly pollinator gardens with the focus on Monarchs. Volunteers are also needed to water and weed the new gardens. Garden clubs or other groups or individuals can email FLOW.

FLOW’s Adopt-A-Pond program will continue improving more ponds in the Olentangy watershed. This includes trees, other vegetation, nutrient control and other factors that lead to healthy, clean water. Additional ponds are being sought.

Camp Mary Orton
FLOW has a big project initiative this year to remove invasive plants from a large forested area at Camp Mary Orton. This is close to the good habitat at Flint Run and the exceptional warmwater habitat reach of the Olentangy.

Olentangy Village and Clinton-Como Park
FLOW is working with the Olentangy Village Condo Association to minimize invasive plants there. This is a key spot adjacent to Clinton Como Park, which has been cleared of invasives and being replanted with native vegetation. It is also across from the OSU wetlands. Less invasive honeysuckle in the surrounding area means these areas will have a better chance of remaining native.

River Cleanups
FLOW’s river cleanup program removes trash from and around rivers. Trash is more than unsightly. Metals rust and pollute the river and plastics get covered with silt and prevent plants and animals from living there. Styrofoam breaks into bits and is eaten by fish. Cleanups will be scheduled and listed on FLOW’s website, and those walking along trails can pick up litter to help keep the river healthy.

Eyes and Ears of the River
A river steward is someone who keeps an eye on the river and reports issues. For those who want to do more, there is a need to look for bugs and check water chemistry. FLOW is planning to partner with the Sierra Club to train interested individuals.

For more Information
Unless noted otherwise, for more information about any FLOW activity, send email to and see the Facebook group Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)..

The Big Give is May 12 – Amplify your generosity to FLOW

The Big Give is a 24-hour online giving rally to benefit community nonprofits. Show your community spirit and support the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) online using PowerPhilanthropy.® A record $1.3 million Bonus Pool will amplify giving on a pro rata basis.  This means that everyone who gives will have their donation(s) increased based on the total amount raised during The Big Give.

All major credit cards, with a minimum donation of $20, are accepted. All credit card fees are covered by The Columbus Foundation— so 100 percent of Big Give donations go to FLOW.

It’s easy to participate!

1. CLICK on The Big Give banner when you visit, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 12. SELECT Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed.

2. GIVE securely using a major credit card, with a minimum of $20. Columbus Foundation donors can also make a grant (minimum of $100) through their Donor Advised Fund or Supporting Foundation.

3. CELEBRATE, knowing that you are strengthening our community for all! Share your experience and why you gave, and follow The Big Give at #BigGiveTCF.

The funds raised during The Big Give will support FLOW’s mission to educate residents about how they can help protect the Olentangy for future generations.

A Fund for FLOW’s Future

FLOW has taken a step to protect its long-term financial security by setting up a $25,000 endowment fund with Columbus Foundation.

FLOW Treasurer Brian Ogle with Lisa Jolley of Columbus Foundation and FLOW Chair Gretchen Farnung met to establish the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed Fund on May 8, 2014.

FLOW Treasurer Brian Ogle with Lisa Jolley of Columbus Foundation and FLOW Chair Gretchen Farnung met to establish the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed Fund on May 8, 2014.

FLOW’s income and expenses have fluctuated over the past few years, but success with grants and corporate donations and a continued determination to cut expenses helped to build a nest egg to invest in Columbus Foundation Green Funds. When needed, FLOW can draw on this investment. It is hoped that the endowment may encourage interest from larger philanthropic groups. The Fund will let FLOW earn a higher return than typical bank accounts and help achieve the mission of a clean and safe Olentangy River for all to enjoy.

Rain Barrel Workshops

Greenspot Rain Barrel Program. Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.

FLOW will facilitate rain-barrel workshops with the GreenSpot Rain Barrel Program again this year. Dates will be posted on our web calendar of events, or visit for information about in-person or online workshops to become eligible for a rain barrel for a cost share of $55. If you have questions please e-mail

Fifth Avenue Dam Removal

The 5TH Avenue lowhead dam was removed in August 2012, and the ecological restoration project began as pool levels were reduced above the 5th Avenue Dam. The ecological and riverbank restoration project ended in September of 2014. Please see the links below for details on the dam removal and river restoration efforts undertaken for the 5th Avenue dam project.

For more information:
5th Avenue Dam Project, Department of Public Utilities, City of Columbus
July 2014 5th Avenue Dam e-newsletter (PDF – 2.8 MB)
5th Avenue Dam Removal and progress with the Lower Olentangy Ecosystem Restoration Project
Proposed Removal Plan by Stantec (PDF – 11MB)


Fishermen on Olentangy River

Fishermen on the Olentangy River
© George C. Anderson

The Olentangy River has a history as a fishing destination. Early in the 1900’s the Olentangy was known to sport fishers as a haven for small mouth bass. Although sport fish populations declined in the middle of the century, small mouth bass and other game fish have become more abundant in recent years. Fly fisherman are gradually becoming a common sight on the river once again.

In general, fish on the Olentangy are considered safe for human consumption, but some restrictions and precautions do apply. If you have questions, check the Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory.

For more information:
Central Ohio Fly Fishers

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens, which are depressions planted preferably with native plants, are another means to address stormwater issues. The deep root systems of the native plants allows water to infiltrate into the ground as opposed to running down the pavement and into the storm sewers. Urban rivers are heavily impacted by large volumes of stormwater that carry pollutants picked up from rooftops, driveways and roads. If you are interested in rain gardens, please visit the Central Ohio Rain Garden website.

Rain Garden Projects

Visit the rain garden project photo gallery or read the project report from FLOW Board Member Joe Tribble

Thanks to a $10,000 grant sponsored by MillerCoors and RiverNetwork, FLOW constructed a demonstration rain garden and water catchment at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Clintonville. This installation is step one in FLOW’s goal of 10 similar projects at local schools, churches, small businesses and other institutions.

Rain gardens are specially designed and planted gardens which collect rainwater and allow it to percolate slowly into the soil, reducing storm water run-off and preventing pesticides, petroleum products and other pollutants from being swept into our streams. Rain gardens also keep storm water from overloading the local sewer system.

FLOW volunteers worked with the members of the Unitarian Universalist Church to create design for the rain garden on the church’s property at 93 W. Weisheimer Road. Construction and planting were completed in early November of 2009.

Hiking and Biking

Turkey Run © George C. Anderson

Hiking and Walking

Sometimes the best way to explore the watershed is by walking through it. If you venture into our local parks, you’ll discover steep-banked ravines and shale outcroppings, Adena Indian Mounds and historic cemeteries. During the spring, spectacular wildflowers bloom, and during the fall the woodlands explode into yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s all there waiting to be found.

If you want to adventure with us, check FLOW’s calendar for upcoming events!


Cyclist on trail © MORPC

The paved Olentangy Multi-use Trail runs along the Olentangy River 12.75 miles from Worthington south to Broad Street in downtown Columbus. The path supports a wide range of recreational opportunities along the river, all while offering the chance to enjoy fresh air and exercise in a unique, natural setting.

The Olentangy Trail