Grow with the FLOW


One of the many ways we are aiming to enhance the health of the Olentangy Watershed is through campaigning for the planting of trees. Our goal is to partner with the Olentangy Watershed community and have everyone planting and caring for trees. We will do this by providing education, ensuring you live in the Olentangy Watershed, and offering free native trees and shrubs. Please go to the registration page by clicking here or by clicking “Grow with the FLOW” above. Registration is open through October 20th.


An great option for Columbus Residents living in Columbus is Branch Out’s Tree Give away on September 30th! Check out the link below!

Bats Are Amazing Public Meeting: October 2 at 7 p.m.

Free public presentation on Monday, October 2 at 7 p.m.
Old Worthington Library, 820 High Street, Worthington, OH

Please join us for a presentation and discussion of our friends the bats:
· Bat myths
· Bats and a healthy planet
· Threats to bats
· Bats in Ohio
· Bat capture and study

Presentation by Angela Sjollema, Biologist at Stantec
Sponsored by Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed
For questions, please email

FLOW Turns 20

Special 20th Anniversary Celebration and 2017 Annual Meeting

Saturday June 3rd, 2017 from 1 pm till 2:30 pm
700 Schock Rd, Anheuser-Busch Training Facility

Everyone is invited

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on June 3rd at 1pm at the Anheuser-Busch Training Center at 700 Schrock Road.  The Anheuser-Busch facility is huge so follow the FLOW Event signs to the Training Center.

Chairman Dr. Andrew Heckler will provide a presentation on the 2016 Accomplishments by FLOW. Our original Chairwoman Dr. Amanda Lanning Davey will provide the keynote presentation.  In addition, members will have an opportunity to vote for new Board Members.

Come and celebrate with us on our watershed successes over the last 20 years thanks to our members, sponsors, board of trustees and thousands of volunteers.

Please join us to celebrate and visit with old friends and make new friends!



Site Plan for Pollinators

Rusty Patched Bumblebee by Johanna James-Heinz.

We’ve heard it in the news, on social media, and through word of mouth that pollinator species have taken a hit. The Rusty Patched Bumblebee is on the endangered species list and many other bee populations are also in decline. Milkweed is wanted for monarchs and we can all do a little something to help out our pollinating friends. However, efforts on private property to incorporate pollinating species set off a few red alarms for county code inspectors. They are just doing their job when they chop down your beautifully planted pollinator patch and leave you bee-less and with a bill. This is because some species are seen as a fire hazard or are noted as “noxious weeds.” The city is changing their outlook on this code and is now acknowledging the use of pollinators as a horticultural improvement to your property. They do however, want to see that your garden is carefully planned. A site plan will help convince officers that the patch they see as “weeds” is actually an intentionally planted, cultivated, and cared for pollinator garden.

What Is It: A site plan is a document that details improvement specifications through drawing. It is a graphic representation of the buildings, parking, drives, landscaping, etc. of a development project. In terms of pollinator gardens, it should be detailed with specifications such as species and size. The links below will give you the tools to build your own personal site plan and cater it to your specific garden and its needs. If you receive a complaint that your garden is taller than 12 inches, you should call the Code Enforcement Division at 614-645-2202 and explain that your garden is intentionally cultivated and that you have a site plan.

Site Plan Instructions

Site Plan Building Tool

Sunny 95 Adopt-a-Pond Success!

~Written by Bob Fitchko

img_4780It was mid-October 2016 and a light fog was giving way to a crisp, clear autumn morning at the Sunny 95 Park and Pond in Upper Arlington, Ohio.   The daybreak was welcomed by a transient contingent of neighbors, joggers and dog-walkers.   A flock of Mallards casually cruised the pond.  A frisky canine viewed the waterfowl intruders.   The ducks and the furry, four-footer had a vocal exchange on the legal, though non-binding, water rights to the pond.  The debate was ruled a draw.  No harm, no “fowl”.   The avian delegation flew off; the domesticated mammal strutted away with its owner.  A representative snapshot of activity surrounding a local pond in the lower Olentangy watershed.    All creatures, large and small, human and not, can enjoy and benefit from a healthy aquatic environment.

The Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) has grant funding (designated the Adopt-A-Pond program) thanks to a generous grant from LUSH Cosmetics. This program will help to improve the habitat and aesthetics of local ponds through the planting of native (soil stabilizing) plants.   Multiple benefits of planting native vegetation include:  increase the health of the Olentangy watershed, increase the variety of plants and birds around the pond, support native pollinators, provide food and habitat for butterflies and moths, provide more color and blooms, and reduce bank erosion and the rate of pond sediment fill.

img_3061 The Sunny 95 Pond is located in the lower Olentangy watershed and was selected as a site to be included in FLOWs Adopt-A-Pond Grant program.  The pond is a one-third acre storm water retention pond centrally located within the 15-acre Sunny 95 Park development.  The park is located at the intersection of Windham Road and Carriage Hill Lane in Upper Arlington (UA).   The park is a result of a decade-past UA master development plan resulting in the demolition of Langston Park and construction of multiple family-oriented facilities at the site.  Completion of the new park area was opened to the public in 2010.

In early fall 2016, Laura Fay, FLOW Science Committee Chairman, and Steve Cothrel, Superintendent of Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Upper Arlington, met on-site at Sunny 95 Park to discuss possible water quality enhancements to the Sunny 95 Pond.  The pond shoreline currently had a variety of plants and tall ornamental grasses around its banks.    However, a central fountain and resulting small wave action causes noticeable scouring and bank erosion.   Scouring is especially noted along the eastern edge of the pond, primarily due to the prevailing westerly-southwesterly winds common in central Ohio.  In addition, professional services for algae control and periodic dredging is part of planned maintenance for the pond in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

img_2492Mutual agreement was made by Laura and Steve to add an additional variety of native aquatic plants to the pond shoreline and to plant several native trees just beyond the pond landscape.  Lisa Metcalf, Horticulturist, Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Upper Arlington, coordinated the selection and planting of plants and trees.

img_5521In mid-October, a trio of FLOW members and two staffers from The City of Upper Arlington, Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, gathered at the Sunny 95 Pond to plant a variety of indigenous aquatic plants. Twenty-six native flora were selected and delivered on site by Gale Martin, Natives in Harmony, Marango, Ohio.  The list of botanicals included:

Asclepias incarnata (red/swamp milkweed), Eupatoriadelphius maculates (spotted joe pye), Hibiscus mosheutos (crimson-eyed rose mallow), Mimulus ringens (monkey flower), and Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush).   With shovels in hand, the new vegetation was planted at four different locations around the pond shoreline.


Danielle and Sarah planting pond plants


Bob delivering plants to Lisa for planting

img_2596In late-October, FLOW and UA Parks and Recreation Department staff met again.  This time the group convened to add several trees to the park landscape just southwest of Sunny 95 Pond.   Three native trees were selected from Willoway Nurseries (aka Premier Plant Solutions):   Betula nigra (river birch), Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak), and Quercus rubra (northernred oak).  The two oaks had a sturdy 3-4 inch caliper trunk thickness.   The river birch exhibited multiple 1-2 inch trunks from its base root ball.   The trio of trees was 12-15 feet in height.   With strong mind and body, holes were dug, tree root balls set in place, and surrounding rings of mulch spread.  As the trees flourish and grow, they should provide additional shade to the pond.

img_2616                Special thanks to FLOW members Laura, Danielle, Bob and UA Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department personnel Lisa, Sarah, Scott, Veronica, and Jim.   All contributed mightily in the joint effort to support FLOWs Adopt-A-Pond project and planting of the aquatics and trees at the Sunny 95 Pond.

To date, the FLOW Adopt-A-Pond grant program has enhanced water quality and public awareness for multiple ponds in the lower Olentangy watershed.  The Sunny 95 Pond project is one of the latest.  FLOW has limited additional funding for this program and has recently reached out to local pond owners.  The non-profit is seeking several additional participants interested in partnering with FLOW to add nature’s beauty and its benefits to their aquatic ecosystems.

Trees and Pond Plants making a difference at Sunny 95 Pond in Upper Arlington

Trees and Pond Plants making a difference at Sunny 95 Pond in Upper Arlington



13th Annual Olentangy River Watershed Forum

Join FLOW and our watershed partners on October 28th for the 13th Annual Olentangy Watershed Forum.  The forum is a full day of news, networking and getting out on the river to learn about the many efforts underway in both the upper and lower watersheds of the Olentangy River.   This year the forum will feature speakers from Del-Co Water Company, the City of Delaware, Ohio EPA and the Delaware Regional Planning Commission,  along with updates from FLOW , the Olentangy Watershed Alliance and Preservation Parks of Delaware County, and a canoe trip in the afternoon.

Date and time: October 28th,  2016  9 am – 4 pm.

Location: Stratford Ecological Center  3083 Liberty Road, Delaware, Ohio 43015


8:00 – 9:00 – Doors open for registration, coffee, and networking session

9:00 – 9:10 – Welcome and Introduction -David Hoy, Stratford Ecological Center

9:10– 9:40 – Jeff Kauffman, Del-Co Water Company, “Monitoring the Watershed”

9:40–10:10 – Brad Stanton, City of Delaware,“Delaware Run Restoration Project”

10:10 – 10:25 – Break

10:25 – 10:55 – Harry Kallipollitis, Ohio EPA, “Stormwater and Clean Water Act Mitigation Projects in the Olentangy”

10:55 – 11:40 – State of the Watershed Updates:

Update from Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) by Science Committee Member Laura Fay. FLOW was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3 in August 1997.  FLOW’s mission is to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities,  and coordination with local decision-makers.

Update from the Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA). The Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA) was formed in April 1999, with a mission to work in partnership with farming, urban and other local communities to understand, appreciate and responsibly use the Olentangy River, its tributaries and watershed. OWA’s vision is to enhance and preserve the water quality, natural integrity, scenic beauty, and recreational value of the Olentangy River watershed in partnership with diverse community interests.

Update from Preservation Parks by Mary VanHaaften. The mission of Preservation Parks of Delaware County is
to protect and conserve the natural and historic features of Delaware County and to inspire outdoor exploration and learning.

11:40 – 12:10- Scott Sanders, Delaware Regional Planning Commission, “Delaware County Development Outlook” aka Projections for 2050.

12:10 – 1:00 – Lunch and Networking

1:00 – 4:00 Field Trip- Canoeing on the Scenic Olentangy River with Heather Doherty of ODNR Scenic Rivers Program.

Please indicate if you want to canoe when you register. The field trip will be weather dependent.

The Olentangy Watershed Forum is presented by the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), the Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA), Delco Water Company, the City of Delaware and Preservation Parks of Delaware County.