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.
Throughout 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.
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).
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
- Herbicides - Selected Herbicides are occasionally and selectively applied by certified employees or contractors.
- Mechanical Equipment
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, 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.
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
After 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.
MetroParks is committed to maintaining a balanced ecosystem that affords for the healthy growth of the natural environment. White-tailed deer have no natural predators, and the herd has grown tremendously within certain areas of MetroParks. A Limited Bow Hunting program will be offered during the 2019-2020 hunting season as part of a wildlife management conservation effort.
Anyone who desires to participate in the Controlled Bow Hunting Program must complete the 2019-2020 Bow Hunting Application by hand, and the application must be signed and dated by the applicant. This application, along with a $20 non-refundable application fee, must be submitted to MetroParks' Administrative offices at 2051 Timberman Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013 by August 30, 2019 to be valid. If mailed, applications must be postmarked by August 28, 2019. The application document can be obtained from MetroParks' Administrative offices located at 2051 Timberman Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013 or from the link above. The complete Wildlife Management Policy Controlled Bow Hunting Program can be found on the Policies & Procedures page.
To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years old, have a valid Ohio hunting license, and meet other requirements. Applicants who meet the requirements will be required to pass a proficiency qualification. Applicants who have submitted a valid application that includes the non-refundable $20 application fee with their submission will be scheduled for proficiency qualifications that will take place on September 7, 2019. The location of the proficiency qualification will be communicated to the applicants.
Applicants who qualify by demonstrating proficiency must attend a lottery drawing to be eligible for selection, which will be held on September 12, 2019, where MetroParks will select primary participants for this year’s season. Specific details regarding the location of the lottery drawing will be provided to those who qualify. All other applicants not selected as a primary participant will be placed on an alternate participant list.
Questions can be directed to Visitor Services at 513.867.5835 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.
The City of Middletown Begins Repairs on the Great Miami River Trail Today - October 17, 2019 todayThe City of Middletown will begin pavement repairs on sections of the Great Miami River Trail (GMRT) today. The repair work may cause intermittent closures of these sections over the next couple of weeks. As you plan your next walking, biking, or running trip on the GMRT , please look to MetroParks website to find daily updates regarding the specific areas that are closed.
Elk Creek MetroPark - Sebald Park Area and Meadow Ridge Area Will Have Daily Closures for MetroParks Controlled Bow Hunting ProgramBefore heading out to Elk Creek MetroPark for a visit to the Sebald Park Area or the Meadow Ridge Area, please note that the parks will be closed to the public between the hours of 8 am until noon each day during 2019-2020 hunting season. As a part of the park system’s Wildlife Management Program a controlled Bow Hunting program will be held during these hours to control the over population of white-tailed deer in these areas. After noon each day the park will be OPEN & READY for YOU! MetroParks appreciates your patience during this time. Hunting Season is from September 28, 2019 – February 2, 2020.
The Pumpkin Vine Trail of Rentschler Forest MetroPark Re-Opened -September 17, 2019The Pumpkin Vine Trail of Rentschler Forest MetroPark, Reigart Road Area, which had been closed to park customer/owners and visitors due to sewer line work since late December has been re-opened effective immediately. MetroParks thanks you for your patience as the work was completed. Have Fun on the trail!
3/1/19 CLOSED - North Paddock of Wiggly Field Dog Park at Voice of America MetroParkThe North Paddock of Wiggly Field Dog Park at Voice of America MetroPark is temporarily closed due to construction, until re-opened by order of the Executive Director. Please, visit "NEWS" for more information on this closure.
2/26/19 CLOSED - Stander PreserveStander Preserve in Reily Township is closed and shall remain closed until further notice. Please, visit the "NEWS" section for more information regarding this closure.
2/6/19 CLOSED - Sycamore Bluffs PreserveEntire parcel of real property now known as Sycamore Bluffs Preserve, including parking area adjacent to Four Mile Creek, is closed to the public effective February 6, 2019, and shall remain closed until further notice due to upcoming bridge construction work by Butler County. Please, visit our "news" section for more information regarding this closure.
We offer a periodic newsletter with information about upcoming events and programs.
Create Family fun
MetroParks provides opportunities to experience open green spaces near home. Pick the time of day that fits your busy schedule to spend some time with nature. Hike a trail, wander through natural habitats, view wildlife or just play! Please consider donating to further MetroParks ability to provide these resources.