PRESS RELEASE from
the Darby Creek Association
Saturday, September 06, 2003
Columbus Zoo, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation award grants to the Darby Creek Association
Two respected conservation institutions have added their support to protecting Big Darby Creek.
Earlier this year, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium awarded the Darby Creek Association (DCA) $5,000 to restore streamside buffers along Big Darby and its tributaries. The money was awarded to the association’s Corridor Restoration Fund, an ongoing program to help landowners in the Darby watershed plant trees along Darby streams. The grant came from the Zoo’s Conservation Fund, which has helped protect rare and endangered animals around the world.
Now, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded the Darby Creek Association an additional $10,000 for corridor restoration. The money is part of the Five-Star Restoration Challenge Grant Program, a program sponsored by NFWF, the National Association of Counties, the Wildlife Habitat Council, the U.S. EPA, and others. The Five-Star program awards grants on a competitive basis, and considers environmental need, community involvement, and existing partnerships.
Streamside vegetation is critical to good water quality, especially along high quality streams such as Darby Creek. Vegetated buffers filter pollutants from storm runoff, reduce erosion, moderate temperature swings, and enhance aquatic habitat. The two grants will pay for planting at least 50,000 native trees. Projects will use volunteer and contracted labor.
“These grants provide more than monetary help,” said John Tetzloff, president of DCA. “They bring two prestigious partners to the effort to protect Darby.
“The Columbus Zoo is famous for protecting rare animals such as pandas, manatees, gorillas, and bonobo chimpanzees. This grant shows the local community that we have endangered creatures worth protecting right here in central Ohio.” The Darby watershed has records of at least 37 rare and endangered fish and freshwater mussels, including three on the federal endangered species list.
The Zoo has been taking an increasing interest in Ohio’s aquatic rarities. In November 2002, they opened a freshwater mussel facility, which will research and propagate rare and endangered mussels, including species that live in Darby. A mussel exhibit is also planned.
DCA will leverage the two grants through an agreement with the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District (FSWCD). The Franklin district has an ambitious buffer program in the Hellbranch Run watershed, a critical Darby tributary in western Franklin County. To encourage participation in this program, DCA has pledged to provide matching funds that will make tree plantings free to landowners. In addition, DCA will pay for all costs of restoration on permanent conservation easements purchased by FSWCD.
This spring, FSWCD and DCA completed 12 projects covering 12 acres and 20,000 trees. Photos are available upon request.
DCA’s Corridor Fund is an ongoing program. Donations to the Fund are welcome. All money will be used to plant trees and restore buffers in the Darby watershed. Landowners interested in restoring buffers on their property may apply for assistance from the Fund by calling the Darby Creek Association at 614-470-2247.
President, Darby Creek Association
Field Conservation Coordinator
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Project Assistant, Central Region
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
ph: (612) 713-5171, fx: (612) 713-5285
Riparian Conservation Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District