Olentangy River Watershed Implementation Project

Investigators: Andy Ward, Jessica D'Ambrosio, Ken Kreiger, Ann Stearns, Dan Mecklenburg

Project Overview: The overall goal of this project is to assist the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC) with the monitoring and reporting of stream protection and restoration efforts in the Upper Olentangy River watershed, a sub-basin of the Upper Scioto River watershed (HUC 05060001). These efforts will be conducted in concert with the Scioto River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Project (CREP), local watershed planning and conservation programs. 

The project team will collect and analyze baseline data for the project site, implement an alternative best management practice (BMP) at the site, and monitor the benefits/impacts of the alternative BMP to geomorphology, biology, water chemistry of the BMP alone and with a combination of other BMPs such as grassed waterways, buffer strips, and controlled drainage management. We also will compare the alternative BMP in a predominantly agricultural landscape to the same practice in highly urbanized landscapes and to constructed “natural channels” within the Upper Scioto Basin to determine its performance under different land uses.

The implementation phase of this project includes three treatments: 1) a currently un-maintained agricultural drainage ditch that will act as the baseline condition; 2) a ditch under traditional maintenance and/or clean-out practice that will act as a “control” site; and 3) an alternative maintenance practice, a constructed over-wide ditch, that will be the alternative BMP. We anticipate that the proposed project will provide needed integration of geomorphology, hydrology, biology, and water chemistry to watershed-scale guidance for management of the Upper Scioto sub-watersheds, in particular, the Upper Olentangy River watersheds.  

Funding Sources: Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5.