FSWCD Backyard Conservation Class – June 28 at Whetstone Library

Help be part of the solution to stormwater pollution! By taking the online course or attending an in-person (free) 90 minute workshop on June 28th at 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Whetstone Library, you can get a rebate for purchasing a rain barrel, compost bin or native plants. Learn more about how what we do in our yards affects clean water and participate in the rebate program at CommunityBackyards.org. The class is a program of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

Location: Columbus Metropolitan Library, Whetstone Branch, 3909 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

The class will also be held Wed., June 22 at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, 505 W Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43215

Video to learn more:
https://youtu.be/uTFPUDhwrkc

Milkweed Mania

Looking for a way to support the butterflies and other pollinators in your yard? Here’s your chance!

FLOW has teamed up with Riverside Native Perennials for our 2nd annual Milkweed Mania fundraiser. At just $12 per pot, you can choose from 6 different species of milkweed including Sullivant’s, Whorled, Butterfly, Poke, Swamp, and Common.

Ready to order? Orders can be placed online now for pickup on July 16th from 12PM-3PM at Sawmill Wetlands Education Area.

ORDER HERE

*Note: Orders must be picked up on July 16th from 12PM-3PM. Any orders not picked up will be donated to a local greenspace area* 

Spotlight on Super Stars – Cory Richmond

Cory Richmond is being acknowledged as a FLOW Super Star volunteer. He has donated his time and talents to many FLOW projects for years! Cory and his chain saw skills were essential in 2018-19 for clearing dense honeysuckle stands on Kempton Run west of Linworth Rd. In addition, unlike some other chainsaw operators, his expertise in differentiating valuable trees and shrubs from non-native invasive ones was extremely important!

Most recently, Cory has again helped clearing invasive plants at Kempton Run, this time between Linworth and Olentangy River Rd. Last fall he worked at the Indian Hills pool parking lot area, and this spring at the Northwest Church of the Nazarene, helping clear the area for a successful Earth Day tree planting event.

Cory has also assisted in removing honeysuckle and other unwanted vegetation at the Sawmill Wetlands restoration sites , along with clearing out dead trees. He’s also helped out in multiple ways at the Worthington Tree Nursery, including helping install the new irrigation system. Cory is always cheerful and upbeat. He says cutting honeysuckle on a Saturday morning is a good release from his daily work at AquaDoc! And his football training has helped him drag honeysuckle branches tied up with grapevine out of the cutting area! FLOW depends on talented and passionate volunteers like Cory to accomplish the many habitat restoration projects in our watershed! Thanks again, Cory!

OSU Capstone: Cannon Drive relocation story map

The relocation of Cannon Drive is a project developed by the Ohio State University that aims to straighten and elevate Canon Drive to support future growth by creating 12 acres of developable land and serve as future flood protection for the surrounding area. Phase I occurred south of Herrick Bridge to King Avenue and increased the safety of the hospital area from 500 year elevation floods. Phase II is proposed to occur from Herrick Rd north to Lane Avenue. Further potential for future phases have been assessed all the way to Dodridge Rd. in order to increase entry and departure from campus.

This StoryMap is part of Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources Spring 2021 Senior Capstone project. The project was undertaken in collaboration with FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed) to inform the organization and the public on various aspects of the Cannon Drive Relocation project. In the following StoryMap, we will discuss how the soil, river, and aquatic organisms that currently reside in the area will be impacted by the proposed construction plans and how to best mitigate negative impacts. We also analyze the potential for this site to facilitate recreation and educational opportunities to students and citizens alike.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed urges you to Vote No on Columbus Issue 7

Issue 7 would divert 87 million in taxpayer dollars from the city into the pockets of a corporation whose interests are self-serving. Pro Energy Ohio, LLC, the group bringing Issue 7, has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and they have no business mishandling the city’s money.  While ‘green-washed’ language of Issue 7 sounds good, Pro Energy Ohio, LLC has not presented a plan on how the funds would be used, and they seek to operate without transparency or oversight. Issue 7 detracts from legitimate efforts to secure clean energy in Ohio. VOTE NO!

For more info, see The Columbus Dispatch’s editorial on issue 7.

The Threat of Coal-Tar Driveway and Parking Lot Sealants

photo of Brian Will

Brian Will

Rachel Carson in her seminal book “Silent Spring” raised public consciousness to the threat of commonly used chemicals such as DDT.  Since the 1962 publication of Carson’s book, society has become aware of many other products that threaten human health and the environment, including cigarettes, refrigerants, neonicotinoids, and asbestos. In the last twenty years, one chemical product that is alarming environmentalists is toxic coal-tar driveway and parking lot sealants, widely used in residential neighborhoods and strip mall parking lots in the Midwest.

Coal-tar sealants are primarily composed of coal-tar pitch, which has 1,000 times more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) than an equally effective alternative product, asphalt-based sealants.  Asphalt-based sealants are widely available and similarly priced to coal-tar sealants and are a considerably less toxic.

Coal- tar sealant is a black, acrid-smelling goo that is spread on homeowner driveways and parking lots on warm days.  If you have ever walked near a newly sealed driveway and noticed the strong odor of mothballs, you probably were inhaling PAHs from the coal-tar fumes.  As coal-tar sealant is being poured and for years afterward, the carcinogenic PAHs present in the coal-tar gradually spread into the environment in the form of dust. Tires, snow shovels, leaf blowers, brooms, shoes, and bare feet can spread the poisonous dust into the environment as well as bring it inside homes.

The National Cancer Institute has classified coal-tar sealant as a Class 1 carcinogen, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has determined that the PAH’s from coal-tar sealed driveway and parking lot runoff cause birth defects and death in fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.   Coal-tar sealants are so toxic that most nationwide home improvement retailers like Lowe’s, Ace, Home Depot, and TruValue no long sell them.  Thanks to education and advocacy by watershed organizations, many states have implemented bans or restrictions on the selling and application of coal-tar, including Minnesota, Washington, New York, Maryland, California, and Maine. Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., Ann Arbor, Austin, San Antonio, multiple suburbs of Chicago, and over hundred other cities and towns have banned coal-tar sealants.

Since coal-tar sealants are not usually available in retail stores, residents run the risk of being exposed to coal-tar when they hire contractors to seal their driveways. Residents can protect themselves and the environment by informing the contractor that they do not want coal-tar products, and ask for a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MS-DS) of the product they intend to use. If the Chemical Abstract Number (CAS) for the product is 65996-93-2, then that contractor intends to use a coal-tar sealant.

You can learn more about the dangers of coal-tar sealants by visiting the USGS website.  There are also multiple helpful videos on YouTube.

Brian Will  bvwill@att.net