ODNR Celebrates First Completed H2Ohio Project in Franklin County

Collection of wetlands will filter water along Walnut Creek.

As part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was joined by the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks to celebrate the completion of the Walnut Creek Treatment Wetland Restoration, the first H2Ohio project in Franklin County.

“The creation of more effective wetlands across the state is a key way to improve water quality for everyone in Ohio,” Gov. DeWine said. “I’m excited to see H2Ohio’s work spread into Franklin County and look forward to hearing more success stories in the future.”
This restoration project was brought to fruition through the first round of the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program. Now that it’s complete, the string of wetlands will filter nutrients from the water before it flows into Walnut Creek.  The project also includes a line of vegetation that provides habitat for various amphibian, insect, and aquatic species.

“The benefits of this project are three-fold: water quality improvement, wildlife habitat, and an increased opportunity for recreation,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “I am excited to expand the H2Ohio mission into Franklin County and grateful for our partners who helped us make this project a success.”
This wetland treatment system will be viewable from a new walking trail that connects visitors to Walnut Woods Metro Park. Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks also restored a small stream, associated floodplain, and upland habitat on 55 acres outside of the H2Ohio project site.

“As an agency that has protected waterways and connected people to nature for over 75 years, Metro Parks could not think of another program that has done so much to preserve Ohio’s greatest resource—water,” Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks Executive Director Tim Moloney said. “Metro Parks is thrilled to work with H2Ohio to restore this area for people and wildlife to utilize for the next 75 plus years.”

The total cost of this project was $1 million.

Governor Mike DeWine created H2Ohio in 2019 as a comprehensive, data-driven approach to combatting algal blooms, enhancing water quality, and improving water infrastructure over the long term. H2Ohio operates in partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The initiative focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring, and enhancing wetlands, upgrading outdated water infrastructure, and replacing lead pipes. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, visit h2.ohio.gov.