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Urban River Restoration Project Featured at EcoSummit 2012(September 20, 2012)
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 20, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the weeks leading up to EcoSummit 2012, the City of Columbus and The Ohio State University are overseeing one of the largest efforts to return an urban area river to a more natural state.
Workers recently removed a portion of a dam from the Olentangy River near the Ohio State campus, and work will soon begin to redefine the river's channel upstream with riffles and pools, and the planting of native grasses and other plants.
"We certainly didn't time the river's restoration to coincide with EcoSummit 2012, but we'll take full advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate to conference delegates that natural habitats have a necessary and welcome home in a major urban area such as Columbus," said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Farther downstream, after the Olentangy River flows into the Scioto River, another dam will be removed in the heart of downtown Columbus. Removal of the dams will open up acres of old river bottoms that will become parks and wetlands.
"The restored river corridor is a cornerstone of the University's long-range vision and will represent one of our most important natural features," said Jay Kasey, Ohio State senior vice president for Administration and Planning. "It will become a focal point of economic activity, clinical care and research, and unique academic endeavors."
Conference participants will be offered a field trip that will provide an up-close view of the restoration effort, and there will be several different presentations at EcoSummit 2012 that will explore the importance of restoring waterways to their natural habitat.
Dr. William Mitsch, who will lead the field trip, is the director of the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, a research and teaching wetland on Ohio State's campus. Mitsch wants people to know that rivers can be restored.
"These riverside forests are our tropical rainforest," Mitsch said. "They are often called bottomland hardwood forests because the rivers create and subsidize a rich environment for plants and animals. They are the closest thing we have to a rainforest."
More than 1,500 delegates are registered to attend EcoSummit 2012 that will be held at the Columbus Convention Center from September 30 to October 5, 2012. This will mark the first time that an EcoSummit has been held in the United States. The three previous sessions were held in Copenhagen, Halifax and Beijing.
For more information about EcoSummit 2012, please click here.
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