Voinovich School and Athens Sunrise Rotary partner for Hocking River floodplain tree planting

April 13, 2018

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and Athens Sunrise Rotary will be planting trees on Friday, April 13, 2018 along the banks of the Hocking River near the Columbus Road Hocking-Adena bikeway spur to help with stream bank reforesting efforts.

Athens Water Treatment plant director Shawn Beasley is implementing a management plan that identifies “no-mow” areas in the Athens wellfields along the Hocking River. This “no-mow” area is primed and ready to receive trees, to give this section a boost in reforesting.

The floodplain will be planted with approximately 900 trees during this event, including Hazelnut, Swamp Chestnut Oak, River Birch, Sycamore, and other trees that are more tolerant to frequency flooding and wildlife grazing.  Funding for the trees is provided from an Ohio EPA 319 Clean Water Act grant supporting Appalachian Ohio Clean Watershed Initiatives.

Reforesting this section of the river bank will be conducted in a multi-year plan starting downstream and working upstream towards the bikeway bridge that crosses the Hocking River. This section of the river is ever-changing and endures frequent flooding events, as witnessed over the past year.

Vegetated river banks provide stability, a habitat for wildlife and cooling shade, plus all the added benefits that trees provide naturally, like cleaner air, as well as being visually refreshing on the landscape.

Rotary International president Ian H.S. Riseley issued a challenge last year: for Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every Rotarian in the world – between July 2017, when he took office as president of Rotary International, and Earth Day, April 22, 2018. The Rotary Clubs of Athens, Athens Sunrise and Nelsonville are embracing that challenge and will be planting at least one tree for each member of the three clubs at this event.

Volunteers interested in helping with this event can meet at the Athens Water Wellfield along the Hocking River at the end of Armitage Road, located past Little Fish Brewing Company, across the railroad tracks. Planting will begin at 3 p.m. and will last until approximately 5 p.m. Volunteers are encouraged to wear sturdy footwear and to bring water, work gloves and a shovel.

Anyone interested in helping with this event can contact the Voinovich School’s Jen Bowman at bowmanj2@ohio.edu or 740.597.3101.