May 2021
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Be the Change for Clean Wetlands!
Let's discuss what wetlands are and why they are important. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, wetlands are defined as areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. So, wetlands are really just areas where water covers the ground either temporarily or permanently.

Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, along with rainforests and coral reefs. Wetlands vary greatly in size, and there are many different kinds. Wetlands are regulated at the state and federal level, and Ohio EPA and Army Corps of Engineers may require a permit for a project that takes place in a wetland, even as small as rerouting a driveway or building a new garage. Wetlands are being impacted by climate change, but they can also be the key to fighting climate change. Today, let's talk about wetlands and what they do for us.

Why are wetlands important for our local ecosystems?
Water Quality: The vegetation within a wetland can absorb and filter out the nutrients and sediment from the stormwater runoff before it enters major creeks and rivers. By doing so, they act as a natural water filter, sending cleaner water downstream.

Flood Control: Wetlands are an important storage area for stormwater runoff before it enters a river or stream. During a large rain event, wetlands capture and hold a lot of stormwater, slowing down the amount of water that enters creeks and rivers. This helps control subsequent flooding and eases the impact of large rain events on the stormwater and sanitary sewers. For reference, the average American family home uses 300 gallons of water per day. Yet just one acre of wetland that is only a foot deep can hold an estimated 330,000 gallons of water at a time.

Habitat: Wetlands are biologically rich and can be home to many different kinds of species. Including migratory birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish and plants, many living things are able to find a temporary or permanent refuge in a wetland. Many species cannot survive without wetland habitat. According to the National Park Service, about one-third of all plants and animals listed as threatened or endangered species in the U.S. depend on wetlands for survival.

Recreation: Wetlands can also provide recreational opportunities and can be a great place for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and bird watching. They can also provide a great opportunity for educational programs and public awareness. Metro Parks offers tons of opportunities around the Columbus metropolitan area for recreation and educational programs with local wetlands and nature.
Hellbranch Meadows Project
Hellbranch Meadows is a nearly 200 acre property that was previously farmland near the Village of Galloway. Franklin Soil and Water purchased the property through the Clean Ohio Fund in 2008. The property gets its name from Hellbranch Run, a major tributary to Big Darby Creek, that runs through the property. Thanks to grant funding, Franklin Soil and Water has been implementing a restoration project that has included restoring the creek, floodplain, and wetlands, as well as replanting forest and prairie land. Check out this video below from our YouTube channel to see how the project is coming along.
Be the Change for Clean Water  
In an effort to protect our local wetlands and water sources, Be the Change for Clean Water is a regional partnership of ten counties and multiple partners working to provide education, resources, and opportunities to make it easer for all Central Ohio residents to Be the Change for Clean Water. Partnerships like these are vital for protecting local water quality and wetland habitat through education, engagement and regional collaboration.
Master Rain Gardener Program
Are you interested in learning how to plan, install, and maintain a rain garden? Franklin SWCD is creating a new program to train local residents to become Master Rain Gardeners through classroom experience and practical application. The program is expected to launch in 2022. If you are interested in the program, you can sign up here to be notified when enrollment opens. Happy rain gardening!
When was the last time you visited a wetland? It could be your backyard, a local park, etc.
Within the last month
Within the last 6 months
Within the last year
Within the last 5 years
I don't know
Here were the full results from last month's poll about how frequently readers experience a wet backyard or seasonal flooding:

Almost every year


A few times

Once or twice

I don't know
Mikaela Mohr
Administrative and Program Assistant
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e:
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |