Our Conservation Efforts

MetroParks Conservation Objectives

Our objectives include:

  • Protect drinking water sources
  • Preserve and protect watersheds
  • Preserve wildlife habitat
  • Protect important birding areas
  • Protect plant and animal diversity
  • Conservation education

About MetroParks Conservation

No less than 80% of MetroParks’ properties are to be managed in a mostly natural undeveloped state. Conservation management of specific areas to preserve diverse natural habitats within Butler County requires constant work. MetroParks has comprehensive conservation management goals, which are reflected in MetroParks master plans. Additional management objectives include planting native grasses, wildflowers and trees that will support and nurture the areas by maintaining the growth of plant life at an optimal height for indigenous wildlife.

Conservation_SignThroughout MetroParks, you will often see "Conservation underway" signage, such as this example which indicates that conservation work is being undertaken in a particular area. The seemingly barren area in this photo will return to a beautiful natural habitat as a result of this effort.

Common threats to MetroParks natural resources and some common MetroParks management techniques are listed below.

 

2021-2022 Limited Bowhunting Program

MetroParks will offer a Limited Bowhunting Program from October 1, 2021-February 6, 2022 at the following locations:

  • The Day Farm in Ross Township
  • The Davidson Woods Property in Hanover Township
  • Salamander Run MetroPark in Morgan Township

With very few predators in the state of Ohio, the growing populations of white-tailed deer herds living in the three designated bowhunting locations continue to have a detrimental impact on the reestablishment of native plant species at these parks, including oak, ash and sugar maple. In addition, white-tailed deer contributed to nearly 99,000 motor vehicle collisions across the state of Ohio from 2016-2021, which led to 24 fatalities and 320 serious injuries, per reports from State Highway Patrol. White-tailed deer also serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick, the vector organism for Lyme Disease. Managing white-tailed deer populations through the MetroParks Bowhunting Program will help alleviate pressure on native plant species, contribute to increased safety on local roadways, and help manage the spread of Lyme Disease in Butler County.

Those interested in participating in the program must submit a completed application to the MetroParks of Butler County, along with a $20.00 processing and handling fee by Monday, September 13, 2021 to be considered for the 2021-2022 program. Applications must be delivered in person or mailed and postmarked by September 13, 2021 to be accepted. Applicants who meet preliminary requirements must pass a marksmanship qualification and will also be entered into a lottery drawing if the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of available permits. The location and date of the marksmanship qualification and lottery will be communicated to those who apply. 

Applications should be mailed or delivered to the MetroParks Administrative Office at: 2051 Timberman Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45013. The MetroParks Administrative Office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm. 

The 2021-2022 Controlled Bowhunting Program Participant Application and the MetroParks Wildlife Management Policy for the Controlled Bowhunting Program can be found below. 

2021-2022 Bowhunting Application

Wildlife Management Controlled Bow Hunting Program

 

Invasive Plant Threats

Invasive plants are non-native species that have spread into native or minimally managed plant systems. These plants cause harm by developing self-sustaining populations that dominate and/or disrupt native ecosystems. They threaten wildlife habitats, important birding areas, and overall plant and animal diversity.

There are various categories of Invasive Plants.

  • Invasive: (a non-indigenous plant with the biologic potential for rapid and widespread dispersion and establishment in minimally managed habitats)
  • Likely Invasive: (a non-native species that is naturalized in Ohio but not yet widespread)
  • Potentially Invasive: (a non-native species not currently known to exist in Ohio, but expected to become invasive in the future).
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Ongoing Efforts to Control the Invasive Plant Threat

The best method of control is prevention. Preventing intentional spread through horticulture, and removing or killing invasive plants when they are first spotted, can avoid significant problems later. Control methods include:

  • Prescribed Fires
  • Hand-Pulling
  • Herbicides - Selected Herbicides are occasionally and selectively applied by certified employees or contractors.
  • Mechanical Equipment

Prescribed Fires

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Ohio was once covered by about 10% grasslands which provided much needed nesting, foraging and escape cover for many species.

Habitat management and conservation ensures that these natural areas provide food, water and shelter for all wildlife. One habitat management practice is the use of prescribed fires to help maintain these grasslands by burning off woody growth, invasive species and old thatch. Also, many of the grasses and forbs require heat in order for the seeds to germinate and this ensures the high quality of this ecosystem.

A Certified Prescribed Fire Manager oversees the prescribed fires for MetroParks and is assisted by trained park staff, volunteers and often the local Fire Department.

Mechanical Equipment

Mechanical equipment, such as a skidsteer with Forestry attachment, is used to grind the above ground species. (Please Note: This equipment is often mistaken for excavation and building equipment and may leave the landscape temporarily looking barren, until the new wanted growth has time to re-appear.) When you see an area like this appear with "Conservation Work Underway" sign you will know that this is an active conservation project and not construction efforts.

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Examples of Areas Cleared of Invasive Plant Species by Mechanical Equipment

Water Contamination and Waste Threat

Water resources are one of any area’s greatest assets. The water supply-both groundwater and surface water- provide abundant resources to each community. Clean, safe drinking water is essential to human, wildlife, plant and aquatic life.

Ongoing Efforts to Address Water Contamination and Waste Threat

  • Green Restroom
  • Great Miami River Planting
  • Great Miami Cleansweep

"Green" Restroom

Green_RestroomAfter securing funding of $70,000 in grants and donations from individuals and foundations, the Friends of Chrisholm funded the construction on a prototype "green" composting public restroom at the Chrisholm Historic Farmstead located just south of Trenton.

This "off the grid" restroom was the first of its kind in Butler County and is designed to reduce waste and save water. Additionally, new interpretive signage installed in 2012 enhances the ability to use this environmentally friendly restroom as a teaching tool for visitors about living sustainably.

Funding for this project was made possible by donations from the Middletown Community Foundation, The Fitton Family Foundation, Duke Energy, the Butler Rural Electric Community Connection, SHP Architects and the members and supporters of the Friends of Chrisholm. The Friends of Chrisholm permanently donated the facility to MetroParks as a positive enhancement to the property.