Ohio River Foundation begins area’s largest habitat restoration

Loveland, Ohio – The Ohio River Foundation (ORF) is embarking on the largest habitat restoration project ever undertaken in Southwest Ohio. The project, made possible by a $50,000 grant from Coors Seltzer and its Change the Course partnership, will restore six miles of riverbank along three Ohio River tributaries: The Little Miami River, Great Miami River, and O’Bannon Creek.

ORF will plant 10,000 to 15,000 native trees and shrubs along those riverbanks. Phase one of the project begins this month and involves harvesting live stakes – taking cuttings from native trees that grow in riparian areas during their winter dormancy. Those “live stakes” will then be planted on riverbanks once the weather warms up in March.

“The Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than 5 million people. But because of pollution from urban runoff, agriculture, sedimentation, and industrial pollution, many sections of the Ohio River do not meet water quality standards,” said Rich Cogen, Ohio River Foundation’s executive director.

Recreation is an important part of the economic sustainability of Loveland along the National and State Scenic and Wild Little Miami River.

The Little Miami is the source of drinking water for Loveland, Milford, and Indian Hill. O’Bannon Creek empties into the Little Miami in Historic Downtown and Loveland folks know this creek because they so often cross over it when heading north along the Loveland Bike Trail from Nisbet Park.

Plants along riverbanks improve water quality by keeping pollutants out of the water and by helping control erosion, thus reducing sedimentation. As they mature, these riparian plants also provide habitat for streamside birds and mammals and create shade that helps fish and other aquatic species thrive.

Rich Cogen, Ohio River Foundation’s executive director

“Restoring the habitats along these tributaries will go a long way toward improving their health, and it will reduce the amount of pollution that makes its way into the Ohio River,” Cogen said.

Assisting ORF with this project are Great Parks of Hamilton County, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Miami Township, Miami Conservancy District, Anderson Township, City of Loveland, Cincinnati Parks, Colerain Township, and Rivers Unlimited.

Volunteers are needed for both phases of the project. Live stake harvesting will take place on:

  • Sunday, Feb. 28 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) at Nisbet Park, 126 Karl Brown Way, Loveland, Ohio, 45140
  • Thursday, March 4 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) at Miami Township West Community Park, 4063 E. Miami River Road, Cleves, Ohio, 45002
  • Sunday, March 7 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) at Heritage Park, 11405 E. Miami River Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45252 Volunteers, who will be helping cut stakes, should dress for the weather, wear waterproof shoes, bring a mask and follow all COVID-19 recommendations. All tools, including boats needed to access some sites, will be provided. Advance registration is required; for more details, or to sign up, visit www.ohioriverfdn.org. Additional volunteer opportunities to help with spring stake planting will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.ohioriverfdn.org.

Ohio River Foundation (ORF) is dedicated to protecting and improving the water quality and ecology of the Ohio River and all waters in its 11-state watershed. ORF works towards these goals through environmental education, conservation and advocacy activities that serve to inspire environmental stewardship for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future citizens. Established in 2000, the organization has reached 50,000 students with its freshwater education programs; restored and reconnected more than 200 miles of rivers; removed four dams; planted 6,000 trees; and removed more than 300,000 invasive plants. For more information, visit www.ohioriverfdn.org.

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