Multiple Olentangy River and Olentangy River Watershed cleanup efforts will be held on Saturday, Aug. 25. The City of Delaware, in partnership with the Delaware General Health District, Keep Delaware County Beautiful, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, will hold a cleanup event at Mingo Park. At the same time, The Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA), in conjunction with Del-Co Water Company and Preservation Parks of Delaware County, will host a separate cleanup event at Blue Limestone Park, cleaning along the Delaware Run.
Each cleanup will begin at 10 a.m. and will last until approximately noon. Afterward, both groups are invited to enjoy a free lunch, provided by the Olentangy Watershed Alliance, at the Rotary shelter located in Mingo Park. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All supplies will be provided, and participants need to wear clothes and shoes that can get wet. Rubber boots or waders are encouraged. Flip-flops will not be permitted.
“Getting residents involved in river cleanups and other hands-on environmental activities are critical. The more residents interact with our natural resources and can associate them with positive, community experiences such as cleanups, the more folks are inclined to help preserve and enhance them,” said Caroline Cicerchi, the watershed and sustainability coordinator for the Delaware Public Utilities Department.
She added, “Generally speaking, rivers are sometimes seen as just an aesthetic component to an area. The Olentangy is an excellent waterway to recreate on, is the source of some of the city’s drinking water, and has a state designation of “Scenic” from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).”
Both events are part of an Olentangy River Watershed-wide effort to “enhance and protect the Olentangy and its tributaries,” according to the events’ registration pages. In addition to the two events in Delaware, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) will begin working that day from the lower Olentangy boat ramp located at the end of Nationwide Boulevard in Columbus. Seventy students from the Environment and Natural Resources scholars program at The Ohio State University will set out in kayaks for the fourth annual holding of the event. Volunteers may participate in that event as well, but Cicerchi said kayaks are primarily for the students, and that any remaining kayaks would be available for volunteers. The river banks will also be cleaned as part of the event.
To register for the Delaware events, both free, visit the Olentangy River or Olentangy River Watershed cleanup pages at www.eventbrite.com. The registrations are separate and are required in order to gauge the number of supplies that will need to be provided.
In the event of inclement weather or unsafe river conditions, the Olentangy River cleanup will be rescheduled for Saturday, Sep. 8, at the same time and location.
Any questions about the OWA event at Blue Limestone Park can be directed to Cicerchi at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions concerning the event at Mingo Park, contact Cicerchi at email@example.com. Those interested may also call 740-203-1905.
Cicerchi urges citizens to “Come be a part of history for the first annual Olentangy River Watershed-wide cleanup day while helping to keep our community beautiful!”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.