by Susan Post
While Columbus may not be home to an ocean or a lake, there are plenty of waterways and wetlands for city residents to enjoy. To fully enjoy nature’s beauty, however, everyone has to do his or her part to keep Columbus’s water clean.
The City of Columbus is taking strides to improve the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers through dam removal and restoration projects, and by improving the health and flow of the water itself in order to support new ways to enjoy both rivers. As a result, environmental advocate Lisa Daris has started Olentangy Paddle, a kayak and canoe rental company that allows residents to take in the beauty of a 3.6-mile stretch of the Olentangy. As city efforts continue, other areas of these two rivers may be viable for similar types of water activities.
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) provides a number of volunteer opportunities to help keep the river clean. During events held this month, volunteers will collect litter and remove invasive weeds to make the Olentangy a more beautiful place.
Other events, like the RiverFest Canoe Float & Bike Ride, held at Alum Creek State Park on July 19, shed light on the importance of keeping our water clean. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) will take paddlers on a three-mile tour of a pool created by a dam from Westerville’s water treatment plant, while educating participants on the importance of keeping this drinking water source clean.
The Honda Wetland Education Center at Glacier Ridge Metro Park in Plain City, and Sawmill State Wildlife Education Area in Columbus, also educate people of all ages on the importance of preserving natural wetland habitats.