SPRING FIELD DAY AT SAWMILL WETLANDS
April 15, 2023, 10am-noon
Come and join us to observe life awakening in early spring!
Come and join us to observe life awakening in early spring!
Help the watershed by reducing your lawn! 40% of the Olentangy Watershed is made up of lawns. If everyone reduced their lawn to plant native trees & plants there would be less mowing, an increase in wildlife habitat and diversity, reduced water usage, and reduced flooding. It also looks beautiful! It’s a win-win situation.
Help the watershed by making sure Only Rain Down the Drain!
Reduce your use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These chemicals are often washed from your grass and plants into the nearest storm drain, where they will eventually end up in the river and harm wildlife, pollute drinking water and cause algae blooms.
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio contracts with a local company to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) such as chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, batteries, and more. Visit @swaco_green for information on what items are accepted and HHW drop off locations. Never dump chemicals or fertilizers down the storm drain.
Another way to make sure “Only Rain Down the Drain” is by adopting a storm drain. Find a nearby storm drain and keep it free of trash, leaves, and sticks. This prevents clogs at the storm drain, which reduces the chance of street flooding, basement back-ups and damage to property.
One way to help the watershed is to pick up litter. The litter you see while out on a walk or driving around is very likely to end up in our rivers and streams. When taking a walk, take along a bag and pick up the trash you see. If everyone did this we’d find a lot less in our waterways.
We often find plastic water bottles, takeout containers, straws, aluminum cans, cups, cigarette butts, snack bags and masks at our cleanups
Bradford Pear, Winter Creeper and Amur Honeysuckle. What do these three have in common? They’re all invasive non-native species of plants that you can see all over Ohio. These species were introduced to the area and quickly took over. Why is it important to remove them? We remove invasive plants because they don’t offer good food or habitat for local wildlife. They also crowd out the native plants, shrubs and flowers that are greatly beneficial to the wildlife.
If you have a hedge of non-native honeysuckle in your backyard or a Bradford pear we ask that you’d consider cutting it down and planting a native tree or shrub.
If you have winter creeper taking over a tree please cut the winter creeper at the base of the tree. Winter Creeper can cause your tree to lose limbs and die over time.
FLOW will have two opportunities coming up later this year to purchase native plants for your yard. Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District also has a sale going on through the March 26th on Spring native plants and trees. (https://www.franklinswcd.org/tree-and-plant-sale)
Help the watershed by planting native plants and trees. Native plants and trees not only provide food and habitat for our wildlife friends, but their extensive roots also absorb rainwater that otherwise might cause flooding.
FLOW has many upcoming opportunities to volunteer to plant trees and help at one of our tree nurseries.
As the year is ending we have been reflecting on what an amazing year 2022 has been. Together we have done so much to help the Lower Olentangy watershed. Over 3,384 volunteer hours have been spent cleaning up trash, planting trees, maintaining pollinator gardens, monitoring the tributaries of the Olentangy River, removing honeysuckle and other invasive plants and so much more. We couldn’t do this work without your time and financial support. Thank you!!!
Thank you for reading this special letter from FLOW Board President, Kelly Thiel:
This fall, on a beautiful afternoon, I took a walk along the Olentangy trail just south of Henderson Road. What used to be open grassy fields next to Whetstone High School is now planted with a row of native trees, ready to provide years of shade to trail users and an improved ecosystem for the area. This successful project is just one of many that FLOW made possible this year. Our grant writers are always on the lookout for opportunities to bring dollars to our communities and improve the watershed for all of its inhabitants. These trees were obtained through a grant FLOW received and planted by FLOW volunteers. Our hope is that everyone who passes by these trees benefits from their proven ability to clean the air, improve the soil, increase wildlife habitat, filter storm water and regulate the surrounding temperature.
In order to continue to make a difference we rely on the support of generous individuals and businesses in our community. If you have been to a FLOW event in the last couple of years then you are likely familiar with our fabulous event coordinator. With your support we can keep this position filled, keep our tools stored, and the lights on in our small office. We depend on our community recognizing the value of a healthy watershed to continue to fund the work we do.
In these days of increasing costs for everything from groceries to goods and services my family has been using the outdoors as free entertainment and a benefit to our mental health. It can be easy to take our green spaces for granted and ignore that Columbus is one of the fastest growing heat islands; increased development will put a strain on our streams and tributaries. FLOW remains focused on our mission to maintain the value of one of the community’s most precious assets–The Olentangy River. We need your help to continue this mission and meet the environmental challenges ahead.
If you have donated to FLOW in the past, THANK YOU! Our donors and volunteers make FLOW the great organization it is today. We hope that you’ll consider becoming a member of FLOW. You can give a one time gift or we hope you’ll consider giving as a monthly supporter. Your tax-deductible donation will help keep the Olentangy River safe, clean, and healthy for generations to enjoy in the decades to come. Visit the support page on this website for ways to donate.
Storm water issues are an increasing problem as increased development in Central Ohio adds impervious surfaces that can’t absorb rainwater, and more severe storms stress already overloaded storm sewers. Join us on Monday, October 17, at 6 pm to learn about storm water as we feature Dave Reutter of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.
One of the consequences of climate change is frequent heavy rain deluges which can overwhelm storm sewers causing flooding, erosion, and damage to property. Storm water drains along streets and in parking lots divert rain water to nearby rivers and streams, unfortunately without the benefit of sanitary treatment. Think of it this way: whatever goes in storm sewers, such as toxins, oils, litter, and fertilizers, ends up in rivers, lakes and oceans. This debris is detrimental to the health of waterways and ecosystems of the Olentangy watershed as toxins harm wildlife and build up in the river banks and sediment.October is Storm Water Awareness month, and a good time to review some of the steps we can take as residents to minimize the damage to our local waterways during heavy precipitation weather events:
Finally, another concern for our waterways is the city’s aging infrastructure. Rain water and snow melt can seep into the sanitary system and overload it. According to the City of Columbus, this excess water enters the sanitary sewer from yards, roofs, downspouts, foundation drains, improperly connected sump pumps, uncapped cleanouts, manhole covers, holes, cracks and breaks in pipes, joint failure, faulty connections and other openings. Excess flow can cause sewage back-ups in basements of homes or businesses. Blueprint Columbus is implementing a plan to replace some sanitary sewers, and it is also launching an initiative to install neighborhood rain gardens. Rain gardens help capture excess water with the help of native plants and reduces the chance of flooding.
Article by Brian Will