The Western Wildlife Corridor
has turned a passion for nature into a crusade for a more beautiful Ohio River Valley. Stretching from Mill Creek near downtown Cincinnati to the Great Miami River bordering Indiana, the WWC’s work seeks to enhance the quality of life for Cincinnatians by removing pollutants from the air and water, eradicating invasive plant species and helping boost the values of properties along the river.
As stated on its website, the organization’s mission is “to protect the scenic beauty and natural resources of the Ohio River Valley through direct land protection and through the promotion of responsible land use.” One of the ways the WWC accomplishes this is by obtaining protective easements or purchasing properties in need of habitat restoration.
“Raising enough money to purchase these properties is probably one of our biggest challenges,” says Tim Sisson, WWC president. According to Sisson, the WWC has agreements to protect properties in both Miami and Delhi Townships.
In terms of the condition of the land itself, Sisson says that one of the biggest problems facing the Ohio River Valley is the prevalence of invasive plant species. “Species like Amur honeysuckle and garlic mustard kill other plants, trees and bushes,” says Sisson. “Once brought in as ornamental, these species are now threatening the indigenous plant life in the Ohio Valley.”
Although the organization conducts habitat restoration year round, springtime is its busiest season – and just a few weeks away. The WWC relies entirely on volunteers to do everything from manually removing the smaller invasive plants from the riverbanks to performing administrative duties such as bulk mailings, website maintenance and newsletter coordination and editing. “Volunteerism with the WWC represents the opportunity to protect something important,” says Sisson.
This fall, the WWC celebrates its 20th anniversary. Throughout 2012, the WWC will host many events providing opportunities for the community to become aware and involved. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the WWC will host its annual meeting at the College of Mount St. Joseph. Open to the public, the meeting will include a presentation on the ecology and geology of the hillside.
“Now is the time to protect the beautiful natural environment of the Ohio River Valley for future generations.” Sisson says.
: funds to help purchase a property in need of natural restoration.
• Volunteer: your time to “clean up” the Ohio River banks.
• Become: a member of the Western Wildlife Corridor.
By Deidra Wiley Necco