Priorities & Projects
Ongoing work to protect the Dayton region’s natural heritage is supplemented by special projects, such as the ones below.
Expansion of West Dayton MetroPark
Wesleyan MetroPark will be growing thanks to the Calvary Mission Church
and funding from a Clean Ohio conservation fund grant. Five Rivers
MetroParks acquired 45.8 acres of land from the church. The land is located
northwest of North Gettysburg and Little Richmond Road by Wesleyan MetroPark.
The church’s land contains ponds and portions of the Wolf Creek, which
will one day offer new fishing and recreation opportunities. Additionally,
the land acquisition allows Five Rivers MetroParks’ conservation team to work toward improving the land’s ecosystems.
The expansion — which meets goals of Five Rivers MetroParks’ 10-year
comprehensive master plan — will eventually require amenities, such as parking, good road access, bathrooms, trails and more.
The addition of the new green space will be handled with careful planning. The land will be cleaned up and entrances will be selected to ensure neighborhood pedestrians have access to the area.
Rangers are monitoring the area, which is be considered a MetroParks’ conservation area until the area can be developed. These designated conservation zones within the MetroParks are managed to create a habitat for plants and wildlife to take precedence.
Great Miami Mitigation Bank
This conservation area located on Little Richmond Road in Trotwood, Ohio, is a focus area for MetroParks’ in the next several years.
Five Rivers MetroParks is converting this area to grassland, forest and wetlands. It includes 360 acres that are part of a mitigation bank, previously farmland and once slated to become a landfill. The remaining 180 acres are part of a former golf course.
The mitigation bank also serves as a regional economic development tool: If an existing wetland is damaged, qualified developers can purchase federally required credits used to restore wetlands at the mitigation bank and support other projects in MetroParks. The Great Miami Mitigation Bank has sold more than $700,000 worth of mitigation credits since 2012.
Because wetland banks are on larger tracts of land, they are more effective than smaller mitigation projects. The Great Miami Mitigation Bank is the first mitigation bank in the Ohio owned, designed and managed by a conservation agency.
Germantown Pollinator Prairie
Five Rivers MetroParks is creating a special natural area just for birds, bees and butterflies — particularly monarchs — by transforming 107 acres of farmland into a pollinator prairie. The land is located on Boomershine Road, across the street from Germantown MetroPark and near the park’s sled hill entrance. In a few years, the new prairie will provide the food and nesting sites necessary for pollinators’ survival. Many of the plants will be milkweed, which is critical to monarchs since it’s the only plant on which these distinctive butterflies lay their eggs and is the sole food source for caterpillars.
The project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund. Protecting the dwindling monarch population is a priority for the Wildlife Service, since approximately 6,000 acres of monarch habitat are lost in the United States every day.
This habitat is critical: Pollinators are required for 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants to reproduce. Pollinators also are food for songbirds, and one-third of humans’ food is produced with the help of pollinators. The new prairie will truly make a difference because of its vicinity to the large natural areas of Germantown MetroPark and the Upper Twin Valley Conservation Area.
Healthy forests are critical to a healthy environment. However, Ohio’s tree population has declined due to climate change, invasive species such as the emerald ash borer and aggressive honeysuckle growth.
The good news is something is being done. The community is helping protect the Dayton region’s natural heritage and preserve our forests by volunteering for Five Rivers MetroParks’ reforestation efforts. In addition to invasive species removal and wildlife management, these efforts focus on harvesting seeds and nuts to grow, plant and nurture hickory and oak trees.
In addition, MetroParks treats 600 ash trees with insecticide to protect them from the emerald ash borer, and more than 90 percent of the trees are doing well.
MetroParks and volunteers have
- collected more than 100,000 nuts during “Go Nuts” fall reforestation campaigns;
- grown more than 60,000 seedlings during the past four years, planting them in various locations throughout MetroParks;
- cared for the seedlings to ensure healthy growth; and
- grown and planted hundreds of native shrubs.
Results have been very successful, with thousands of seedlings growing into the healthy forests of the future.
Strategic Trail Initiative
The purpose of this agency-wide initiative is to raise the bar for our trail systems by building trails in a sustainable manner. Not only will this make the trails more enjoyable, it will have a positive impact on fish and wildlife habitat. It creates large blocks of undisturbed habitat and decreases erosion and harmful rainwater runoff that can compromise the quality of our waterways. The Strategic Trail Initiative will (eventually) affect all trails in the MetroParks.
Sustainable trail building involves careful planning and working with the land rather than against it. It addresses needs of users, protects the environment, reduces sharing issues among different user groups and requires less maintenance. This is why sustainable trail building is favorable compared with older models of trail building.
Building trails sustainably also accommodates a greater number and diversity of trail users and gives those users an improved hiking experience with predictable paths.