Volunteers planting wildflowers at project site in May 2007. © C. Gresham

Rush Run is a 1.5 mile long tributary of the Olentangy which drains approximately 2 square miles in Franklin County. Its natural flow has been channelized, and the streamside vegetation has been altered. Invasive plants such as honeysuckle and garlic mustard have crowded out native wildflowers along the stream banks in the residential areas, and turf grasses dominates the industrial areas. The water quality is listed as fair to poor.

In 2006 the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded FLOW a grant to restore a section of the streamside along Rush Run. FLOW selected a 408 foot section in Park Blvd. Park, in Worthington because it was heavily overgrown with invasive honeysuckle and because it was located on park land where it could attract public interest and participation.

In its natural state, the streamside vegetation of Rush Run would consist of a balance of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. This vegetation would provide erosion control, shade, and a variety of habitats for wildlife. However, the Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii) dominates the banks of Rush Run. Very few native wildflowers and shrubs can survive the crowding and shading. Introduced to the Midwest from Asia in the 1800’s as a garden ornamental, Amur honeysuckle has escaped cultivation. It spreads easily by seed, is fast growing, and is very adaptable. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has more information on invasive bush honeysuckle.

In the spring of 2007, FLOW and the Worthington Department of Parks and Recreation began to restore native vegetation. Volunteers contributed over 450 hours to clear the banks of honeysuckle and plant 94 native trees and shrubs, 50 ferns and over 900 perennial wildflower plugs. Volunteers also planted a seed mix of native floodplain species and watered and mulched the area throughout the dry summer. FLOW has compiled a list of plants used in this restoration (scroll down) and a gallery of photos showing the work accomplished.

Volunteers monitored water quality before and after the restoration, and FLOW will be continue to monitor Rush Run at Park Blvd. Park in the future.

An educational sign was placed on site in November 2007 describing the work accomplished at Park Blvd. Park. FLOW will participate in the upkeep of this section of Rush Run in the future. Watch for future workdays at Park Blvd. Park in the FLOW Calendar of Events.

An educational sheet for class or scout visits to Park Blvd. Park is available, as well as information on what you can do to improve streamside corridors in your neighborhood.

This project was funded by a generous grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

FLOW would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their participation in making this project successful.

Worthington Parks and Recreation Department
Worthington Public Service Department
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
Friends of Rush Run
Boy Scout Troop 365
Thomas Worthington High School Advanced Biology Classes
David White for GIS and Stream Monitoring Support
Ellie Nowels of Centipede Graphics
Friends of the Ravines
Colonial Hills Civic Association
Russell Tree Experts
Sustainable Worthington
Sierra Club
ODNR Division of Forestry
ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves
Photographers: Cyane Gresham, Marty Kotter, Mike Hock, David White

Plant List for Rush Run Riparian Restoration Project

Planting trees and shrubs at Park Blvd. Park during May 2007 workday. © C. Gresham

Trees and Shrubs (94 planted)

  • Bur Oak
  • River Birch
  • Sycamore
  • Swamp White Oak
  • Paw Paw
  • Shadblow Serviceberry
  • Highbush Cranberry
  • Spicebush
  • Red Bud
  • Flowering Dogwood

Native Herbaceous plugs for Planting (960 planted)

  • Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
  • Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis
  • Hairy Woodmint Blephilia hirsuta
  • Virginia Bluebells Mertensia viginica
  • Golden Ragwort Senecio aureus
  • Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa
  • Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum
  • Wild Blue Phlox Phlox divaricata
  • Tall Bellflower Campanula americana
  • Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana

Ferns (50 planted)

  • Sensitive Fern Onoclea sensibilis
  • Christmas Fern Polystricum acrostchoides
  • Lady Fern Athyrium Filix-femina

Seed Mix for well drained floodplain (for ¼ acre)

  • Side Flowering Aster Aster lateriflorus
  • Panicled Aster Aster simplex
  • Sweet Joe-Pye Weed Eupatorium purpureum
  • False Sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides
  • Smooth Beardtongue Penstemon calycosus
  • Cupplant Silphium perfoliatum
  • Green-headed coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata
  • Wingstem Verbesina alternifolia
  • Franks sedge Carex frankii
  • Brown Fox Sedge Carex vulpinoidea
  • Virginia Wild Rye Elymus virginicus
  • Riverbank Wild Rye Elymus riparius
  • Beak Grass Diarrhena americana
  • Bottlebrush Grass Hystrix patula