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2045 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229
Ohio pioneered the river preservation movement in 1968 with the passage of the nation's first scenic rivers act. This legislation created a state program to protect Ohio's remaining high quality streams for future generations. Scenic rivers retain most of their natural characteristics at a time when many rivers reflect the negative impacts of human activities.
River corridors are narrow natural areas only a few hundred feet wide and many miles long that are dynamic systems. The interface of terrestrial (land) and aquatic (water) ecosystems produces an abundance of diverse plant and animal communities.
Restoration of streamside forests is the single most important ingredient in maintaining the health of streams and rivers. The removal of forested corridors along waterways increases erosion, runoff, and sedimentation, resulting in the degradation of water quality and the reduction of the natural diversity of aquatic communities.
The Scenic Rivers Act requires that a citizens' advisory council, representing local officials, landowners and conservation organizations, be appointed for each designated river. The council provides advice about local river protection and preservation concerns.
Three approaches are used in scenic river protection:
Scenic rivers are classified according to the outstanding qualities a stream possesses. The Scenic Rivers Act provides three categories for river classification: wild, scenic and recreational. Criteria examined include the stream's length, adjacent forest cover, biological characteristics, water quality, present use and natural conditions.
Scenic river designation is a cooperative venture among state and local government, citizen groups, and local communities within a watershed. The designation process depends ultimately upon support and protection authority of local governments and citizens. The ODNR studies the proposed river to determine whether it meets the scenic river criteria. All interested parties, including state and local officials, community groups and concerned citizens, meet to discuss the scenic rivers program and to encourage local support for the protection of the river as a natural resource.
A legal notice of the intent to designate a river as wild, scenic or recreational is issued by the Director of ODNR 60 days prior to the declaration to allow sufficient time for public comment. Following the public comment period, ODNR responds to public concerns and the Director may declare a river a component of the state scenic rivers system.
ORC Section 1547.82 requires the review and approval of publicly-funded projects within a 1,000-foot corridor of a designated Wild, Scenic or Recreational River area outside of municipal corporation limits. Examples of these types of projects (roads, bike trails, sewerlines) are shown on the left side of the above graphic.
Private land is not subject to any review or approval under the Scenic Rivers law. ORC Section 1547.81 provides for the protection of all private land uses such as home building, logging, grazing, agriculture, etc. Examples are shown on the right side of the above graphic.
2010 Milton Blvd, C-1
Newton Falls, Ohio 44444
ODNR Watercraft Headquarters
2045 Morse Road, A-3
Columbus, OH 43229-6693
Alum Creek Watercraft Office
3305 S. Old State Road
Delaware, OH 43015
952 Lima Avenue
Findlay, OH 45840
5349 Wilmington Road
Oregonia, OH 45054
All contributions to the Scenic Rivers Protection Fund support stream restoration, dam removals, stream quality monitoring, education efforts, land acquisition, and scientific research.
Monetary Donation (anytime)
You can send a check or money order, payable to the "Scenic Rivers Protection Fund," to:
Scenic Rivers Protection Fund
c/o Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft
2045 Morse Road A-3
Columbus OH 43229-6693
Support Scenic Rivers with estate planning. We welcome memorial donations and land or other personal property assignments. Please contact Bob Gable, Ohio Scenic Rivers Program Manager at 614-265-6814 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Conservation License Plates
Two designs support Scenic Rivers:
When you need to renew your Ohio license plates, visit www.oplates.com and choose Specialty Plates. The Scenic Rivers designs are brook trout (above left) and blue heron (above right).
Ohio's Scenic Rivers
Big & Little Darby Creeks
Little Beaver Creek
Little Miami River
Stillwater River/ Greenville Creek
Upper Cuyahoga River
River & Stream Access
Ohio Water Trails
Ohio's Nature Preserves
Guide to Ohio Streams,
Streams & Watersheds Map
Ohio Stream Flow Data