Event to explore why we need healthy rivers

Ohio’s Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) is holding its next monthly breakfast program on March 7 in Columbus, and as the film title goes, a river runs through it. 

Called “We All Need Healthy Rivers,” the event is a joint meeting with the Water Management Association of Ohio.

In all, Ohio has more than 29,000 miles of rivers, and organizers say their health is key to the health of the state’s citizens and environment.

The Ohio River, for example, supplies drinking water to more than 5 million people in six states including Ohio, the Ohio River Foundation says. But reports based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data have said the Ohio has more industrial pollution than any other river in the nation.

Meanwhile, only about 213 miles, or less than 1 percent, of Ohio’s rivers — including parts of the Big and Little Darby creeks near Columbus — are designated wild and scenic, according to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

American Rivers CEO is keynote speaker

The EPN breakfast program offers two attendance options:

  • Breakfast and the keynote talk, “Protecting Wild Rivers, Restoring Damaged Rivers, Conserving Clean Water,” by Bob Irvin, president and CEO of the nonprofit conservation group American Rivers, from 7:15 to 9:45 a.m. in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, at The Ohio State University.
  • Breakfast, Irvin’s talk, plus two additional talks — “Merging Monitoring and Water Quality Standards to Improve Management and Protection of Aquatic Resources” by Chris Yoder, research director with the Hilliard, Ohio-based Midwest Biodiversity Institute, and “Status of Darby Creek: An Ohio Biodiversity Treasure” by Andrew Phillips, environmental specialist with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Surface Water — that continue in the same location from 10 a.m. to noon.

Open to public, students welcome

Registration is open to members of the network, the association and the public.

  • Registration for the breakfast and keynote talk only is $10 and can be done online at go.osu.edu/BqCQ (scroll to the bottom).
  • Registration for the entire program, including the talks by Yoder and Phillips, is $30 at go.osu.edu/BqCJ.
  • Ohio State students can register for free at either link.

The civil engineering firm Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District are co-sponsoring the event.


EPN is a statewide professional group coordinated by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Membership is free and open to anyone working in or studying an environmental field.

For more information on the event and on EPN membership, contact David Hanselmann, a lecturer with the school and the network’s coordinator, at hanselmann.3@osu.edu or 614-247-1908. Or visit the network’s website at epn.osu.edu.

Details on the Water Management Association of Ohio, including how to join, are at wmao.org.

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