Ohio State began restoration efforts of the Olentangy River corridor in August 2012 with the removal of the Fifth Avenue dam. At that point, the university decided to take the opportunity to re-examine how the river is viewed.
In the past, the river has been seen as a dividing force separating the university’s east and west campuses. But under the new One Ohio State Framework plan, the river corridor serves instead as the center of the university — a uniter, in the famous words of George W. Bush, not a divider.
One goal of the restoration project is to establish a functional riparian forest buffer comprised of native species in this urban area. Water quality, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics will all be improved from the successful establishment of the proposed plantings.
However, two non-native species, bush honeysuckle (pictured) and ailanthus, or tree-of-heaven, pose a serious threat to the survival of the new plantings. These invasive species exhibit several characteristics that help them suppress native plant growth.
Invasive species would hurt replanted natives
Ohio State currently has no plan to manage invasive species in the newly restored corridor. This lack of planning has the potential to render the restoration unsuccessful.
It is our hope that Ohio State develops a thorough invasive species management plan to ensure the successful restoration of the Olentangy River corridor.
(Update: A Nov. 14 Dayton Daily News story on invasive honeysuckle and how to control it.)
(Details on the ENR 4567 course are here.)