FoSBC to clean watershed April 9


SCIOTO COUNTY- The Friends of Scioto Brush Creek (FoSBC) will be celebrating the start of spring by getting their hands dirty during a cleanup day organized on land they recently purchased at auction along the Scioto Brush Creek stream in effort to further conservation efforts.

The creek frontage they purchased was a haste decision by the FoSBC board, but one rooted in importance and good conscience.

“Occasionally, a conservation opportunity comes along that is perfectly suited for a small, nimble watershed organization such as the Friends of Scioto Brush Creek, Inc. Such was the case this past November when a small parcel of land along the lower mainstem of the creek was advertised for auction. Strategically located adjacent to Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve, the area was critical for helping to protect several rare species of both plants and animals. Additionally, the parcel was directly across the creek from the nature preserve’s parking area and canoe launch. The property was certainly worthy of conservation, but by the time FoSBC learned the property was being auctioned, we had only two weeks to come up with a plan,” explained FoSBC’s Martin McAllister.

According to Martin, FoSBC already owned over 320 acres of land in the watershed, which came from two large parcels acquired from Dayton Power and Light Company as part of a stream mitigation project several years ago.

“Conservation easements permanently protect all the ephemeral streams on the property that feed into Scioto Brush Creek. Protection of these tiny waterways is important for water quality as well as for the survival of several species of small fish that depend on these small trickles of water. Among these is the rosyside dace, Clinostimus funduloides, a rare member of the Cyprinidae family which also includes more well-known groups such as minnows, chubs, shiners and carp nearly all of which are more tolerant of poorer quality water. Rosysides however can be found in Ohio only in Adams, Scioto, Pike and Jackson counties and only in high quality streams such as Scioto Brush Creek. The lower mainstem is an entirely different ecosystem. Long, deep pools, with one being measured at twenty-seven feet deep, are interspersed with wide, rocky riffles. Here one can find much larger species such as long-nosed gar and flathead catfish— North America’s second-largest catfish.”

When the recent land came up for auction on December 8, the FoSBC called a special board meeting and voted to purchase the land with funding they had, considering they had no time to write a grant, despite knowing of potential funds perfect for the project. They won the 6.2 acres, marking the first time the group had purchased property along the lower mainstem.

While the group is exploring a plethora of conservation opportunities on the property, they plan to start with a cleanup organized onsite.

The cleanup will be held April 6 at 10 a.m. Volunteers from the FoSBC, ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves staff, and Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District staff and volunteers will work cooperatively to remove roadside litter from the newly acquired property.

“Unfortunately, many of our county’s rural roadsides are littered with household trash including furniture, mattresses, toilets and other bagged garbage,” FoSBC President Jody McAllister said. “This piece of property has items that will be removed from the banks of Scioto Brush Creek, some of which are very steep, using manpower, wenches and vehicles. If you’d like to help with this effort wear sturdy footwear, bring gloves and dress for the weather conditions. The Friends of Scioto Brush Creek will be providing lunch and water.”

According to Jody, volunteers planning to attend may help by collecting trash along the roadsides of the new property and the nature preserve in the watershed. The FoSBC will provide safety vests, trash bags, litter tongs, and buckets for collecting litter. They will meet at 10 a.m. at the Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve parking area on Tatman-Coe Road, McDermott, Ohio 45652.

“I’m happy the FoSBC could purchase and preserve this piece of the watershed for several reasons,” Jody stated. “This piece of property lies along the banks of Scioto Brush Creek, recognized as an exceptional warm water habitat, that is home to over 100 rare, threatened, and endangered species of native flora and fauna. The property is directly across the stream from ODNR’s Division of Natural Areas, Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve and will protect the riparian buffer zone of the creek. Riparian buffer zones are tree lined banks along waterways that provide shade which helps keep water temperatures cool. The cooler water dissolves more oxygen and makes it available to the fish and other stream life. Without tree lined banks the water temperature rises depriving fish and other species living in the stream of oxygen and they can suffocate. This in turn upsets the balance in the stream community. I’m happy to be member of an organization whose mission is to maintain and protect water quality for future generations.”

The FoSBC is a 501©3 non-profit serving the watershed of Scioto Brush Creek through conservation efforts, education, park development and events, and more. The group hosts an Annual Scioto Brush Creek Sweep event, a Scioto Brush Creek Day, attends local events to educate students and families, and more. To learn more about the group, or to stay updated on their work, visit them on Facebook.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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