Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) was presented the Green Collaborative Achievement Award at the annual Summit on Sustainability held by the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). The Green Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes a group of entities or individuals who have shown effectiveness in producing environmental accomplishments through a collaborative effort. FLOW and their partners have created a foundation of success for several on-going and new initiatives that support the fulfillment of FLOW’s mission – 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.
Programs like the Adopt-A-Pond or FLOW’s Stream Quality Monitoring (SQM) initiative are all aimed at improving water quality, increasing the health of our watersheds, and offering different pathways for citizen watershed stewardship. On-going initiatives for the education and advocacy for installing rain barrels, rain gardens, and restoring the tributaries and river corridors of the lower Olentangy through invasive species removal, litter clean-ups, and native plantings are also entrenched in the spirit of collaboration.”
September, 15, 2015
FLOW has joined Branch Out Columbus, a citywide partnership to plant 300,000 trees by 2020.
Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther joined the Weinland Park community, FLOW and more than 20 other non-profit organizations to announce the start of the community wide effort to plant 300,000 trees and a pilot program to develop an urban tree nursery. The newly planted trees will be part of an effort to increase the city’s urban tree canopy.
“The City of Columbus is committed to a 27% tree canopy by 2020, but we cannot do it alone.” said Mayor Coleman. “That is why we are branching out by creating the “Branch Out Columbus” campaign calling for community wide action.” Through the Recreation & Parks Foundation, the City has set up a fund at the Columbus Foundation where businesses and residents can donate money towards the planting of trees in the community. “Trees are an important part of improving the quality of life in Columbus,” said Council President Ginther. “From cleaning the air and water to improving property values and fighting greenhouse gases, trees make Columbus a great place to live and work.”
The urban tree canopy in Columbus is currently estimated to cover 22% of the land (31,171 acres), according to a recent assessment led by the Columbus Recreation & Parks Division of Forestry and prepared by consultant, Plan-It-Geo. These trees provide a multitude of economic, environmental, and social benefits, conservatively valued at more than $12.1 million annually, according to the study.
Mayor Coleman and residents of the Weinland Park neighborhood also announced a pilot program for an urban tree nursery. The vacant land, owned by the City of Columbus’ Land Bank and Campus Partners, on 8th Avenue near 5th Avenue will be the city’s first Urban Tree Nursery. The vision is for the nursery to be a place where trees can grow to be planted in the neighborhood and where residents can learn about the importance of trees and how to properly care for them. The goal is to have at least four urban tree nurseries established in target neighborhoods by the year 2020.
An executive order will be prepared to preserve and restore trees on all city led construction projects. To help residents on private property, the City will pay up to a $50 rebate to plant native trees on their property while supplies last (currently there are enough funds for approximately 400 trees). The program is part of the Columbus GreenSpot Backyard Conservation Program .
For more information about the Branch Out Columbus- 300,000 trees by 2020 campaign, and to see a copy of the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, please visit www.columbus.gov/branchout .
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed received a Conservation Stewardship Award from the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District. FLOW was recognized for its enthusiasm and efforts toward promoting and improving water quality and stream life in Franklin County.
Date: September 17, 2015.
FLOW has lots to choose from this year.
There are many locations available through Green Columbus (www.greencbus.org). You can request free native tree seedlings for your own use.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and see the Facebook group Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)..
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 http://stormwater.franklinswcd.org 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 email@example.com.
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.