The structural variability of streams creates highly diverse habitats that are inhabited by many aquatic species, and over 90% of Ohio’s state-listed aquatic species
are primarily stream-dwelling. Unfortunately, the rich diversity of streams is imperiled by a multitude of stressors. Habitat loss and degradation, changes to hydrology, excessive sedimentation, channelization, and loss of floodplain connectivity all impact aquatic communities. Consequently, resource agencies and conservation groups realize that habitat protection and restoration must be done at the watershed level to be most effective. Implementation of watershed approaches requires collaboration with other agencies and NGO’s.
The Division of Wildlife has identified eleven Focus Watersheds
to concentrate efforts. These include the highest quality watersheds in Ohio. Watersheds in both the Lake Erie and Ohio River drainages representing all of Ohio’s major ecoregions have been included. All have diverse habitat types, high use designations, excellent biodiversity, and most are Ohio Scenic Rivers
. Within these focus watersheds, we have targeted high quality sub-focus watersheds to better allocate our resources.