Spring 2002 Issue

                                                            Celebrating our Tenth Year!



The Western Wildlife Corridor will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this spring. The celebration is planned for Friday, April 26 at EarthConnection at 5:30 p.m., so mark your calendars now! We will be providing food and drinks, so please RSVP as soon as possible.

The First Ten Years

This is only the beginning glancing back on the first ten years and looking forward with many aspirations to the future. A great deal has happened in the first ten years, as the organization we now know as Western Wildlife Corridor originally began as a committee of Imago. The committee was formed as a greenway project of Imago as a result of the possibility of threatened development as it would impact the wildlife using the corridor.

One of the first tasks of the Western Wildlife Corridor was to preserve the Enright connector from Mt. Echo Park to Embshoff Park. Concerned citizens and Imago eventually purchased the property at the southern end of Enright Ave. These wooded hillsides provide that “connector” for wildlife. One of the easiest ways to view this connector is to drive down Delhi Road in Price Hill and look up at the woods on either side of the street.

The Western Wildlife Corridor had a great beginning, realizing that the preservation of land could make change occur. Many cities, villages, organizations. and people endorsed the formation of the Western Wildlife Corridor. Those included the City of Cincinnati, Sayler Park Village Council, East Price Hill Improvement Association, Riverside Civic and Welfare Club. Inc., the village of Addyston. Sedamsville Community Council. Delhi Township Board of Trustees, and Miami Township Board of Trustees. Organizations that endorsed the WWC were The Hillside Trust, the Cincinnati Chapter of the Ohio Audubon Society, the Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society, the Cincinnati Wildflower Preservation Society, Cincinnati Nature Center, Imago, and Cincinnati Sane/Freeze. Dr. Mary (Meg) Riestenberg and Dr. Stanley Hedeen also endorsed the formation of the Western Wildlife Corridor.

 In his endorsement, geologist Richard Durrell said, " The charm of Cincinnati stems from its location along the Ohio River and its many wooded hillsides... We hope that Tree Council's old dream of Narrows Park and Imago’s hope for a wildlife corridor may come to be.” (see related story below)

 Michael Gallis and Associates’ “Greater Cincinnati Metro Region Resourcebook” (June 1999) refers to “a sixty mile river park” from Ripley (Ohio) to Rising Sun (Indiana)*. This could also be interpreted as a “green ribbon or an emerald necklace” running parallel to the Ohio River. For complete report go to www.gccc.com/quick_links/ pubs/ gallis/ gallis.asp

The Next (Ten) Years...

Throughout the first ten years, the Western Wildlife Corridor conserved nearly 32 acres of greenspace comprised of 45 parcels. These parcels range in size from over 13 acres to less than a tenth of an acre. Some comprise a true “preserve” whereas others are little preserved spaces in the landscape.

However, the WWC does not measure the successes by the total numbers of acres owned, but in the satisfaction in complying with the mission and the process of conserving greenspace. This is what we celebrate.

In the next decade and decades to come, the Western Wildlife Corridor will be focusing on Narrows Park as well as the remainder of the corridor. There is work to be done in preserving these areas as we are faced with obstacles daily that threaten greenspace. We look to the future with confidence since we have seen change occur and realize that it is possible!

Story Woods Update

The park behind Rapid Run Middle School off Pontius Road in Delhi has been named Story Woods. Ron Kruse informs us the trail is presently being bulldozed and should be completed by the end of May. For current photos check out www.delhi.oh.us.


The late Richard Durrell. a noted Cincinnati geologist and University of Cincinnati professor, was a quiet conservationist. He was involved with many conservation efforts, including working with the Nature Conservancy. Hamilton County Parks, Cincinnati Parks. the Cincinnati Nature Center and many other organizations. He and his wife Lucile have left a lasting legacy with the Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve in Adams County.   Locally, Durrell, Don Patrick (a WWC Board member), and others were involved in 1974 in preserving the land now known as Glenway Woods in Price Hill. This park consists of 36 acres of preserved woods.


Richard Durrell and his wife Lucile proposed an idea for “Narrows Park” in conjunction with the Greater Cincinnati Tree Council in 1975. The idea for the park itself as well as its location was a particularly attractive concept for the Western Wildlife Corridor to focus upon. The proposed park comprises approximately six miles in the heart of the corridor. This is a narrow ribbon of steep hillsides cut by Ice Age glaciers. The park extends from Mt. Echo park westward to just past Mt. St. Joseph College (see map above).

This strip park would include the unstable slope which is actively lands sliding along Hillside Avenue and which is unsuitable for development. The park would include land both within Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati.

It affords a splendid view over the valley of the Ohio River, and a walking trail through the woods would be delightful. These scenic wooded bluffs have a unique history and would leave a lasting legacy for the Durrells.

Speaking of Two Properties-A Reflection of the Hillsides in the Western Wildlife Corridor

By Dr. Mary (Meg) Riestenberg

Western Wildlife Corridor has been offered two parcels of hilly, forested land. One parcel of land lays upslope (south-facing slope) from Hillside Avenue, in the stretch between Bender and Anderson Ferry Roads. The second parcel also lays upslope from Main Street, in the town of Addyston, near Main Street. The areas provide excellent habitat for wildlife.

Both sites have similar geology. Each of the steeply sloping areas is underlain by bedrock that is in turn overlain by a thin veneer of residual soil (or colluvium). These sites reside in an especially narrow segment of the Ohio River valley. This narrow valley owes its steepness to a rerouting of the Ohio River’s course during the Ice Age. Now, a combination of the steepness of the hill slopes underlying the sites coupled with their bedrock-derived soil makes these sites inherently unstable.

Each site, at least in the lower stretches near Hillside Avenue, is underlain by the Kope Formation, a bedrock unit. The Kope Formation underlies hill slopes in the lower reaches of the valley walls along the Ohio River, up to about 150 meters above river level (Fleming and Johnson, 1994). The Kope Formation is composed of flat lying, interbedded limestone and shale, in approximately a ratio of one part limestone to three parts shale. The abundance of shale in this bedrock unit is directly related to its notorious reputation as an unstable unit. Shale readily weathers into soil, and so soil builds up relatively quickly on the Kope Formation. The soil mass soon reaches a critical thickness, at which it can no longer remain anchored on the hill slope, and it moves downhill in a landslide. Now, in general, on steep slopes where there has not been housing development with the addition of engineering fill, the soil develops to about two meters in thickness and is subject to shallow, abrupt land sliding in the spring. This generally occurs after the ground thaws and before the trees leaf out.  Trees have been demonstrated to contribute to soil strength and reduce slope failures on hill slopes underlain by a thin colluvial layer. In areas where a thick layer of engineering fill has been placed on the hillside, the failures may actually progress slowly and indiscernibly over many years before there is a dramatic, massive, and costly landslide.

The ridge has been extensively mapped in the area upslope from Hillside Avenue in the vicinity of Darby Avenue, near Bender Road. The maps show that the entire south-facing slope, above Hillside Avenue in the vicinity of Bender Road, is involved in land sliding, either at present or in the past. (It is by the way, unfortunate that slopes which have failed in the past tend to fail again. This tendency to failure is due to the realignment of the soil’s particles parallel to the slope’s face.) We may certainly extrapolate the observations on the maps mentioned above to the entire stretch of land above Hillside Avenue, as evidenced by the continual road repairs and clean ups along Hillside Avenue, coupled with its slopes’ hummocky terrain and misaligned trees.

So what does this mean to the WWC? It is a fact that the hill slopes we have been offered are inherently unstable. There is a good chance that they will fail but it is impossible to predict the timing or the magnitude of the future failures. Both parcels are heavily vegetated. This is beneficial for vegetation does stabilize hill slopes. We are told that neither parcel has been developed, so there probably is not an unusually thick layer of heavy soil underlying the sites. So this is good, but no guarantee that the hill will remain stable...

Editor's Note: Meg (a professor at Mt. St. Joseph College former WWC Board Member, and current Technical Adviser) wrote this after examination of  the properties offered to the WWC, which were ultimately accepted (the Addyston properties donated by the Sisson family and the Hillside property). It is relevant information specific to these properties but also relates to many properties within the Western Wildlife Corridor and Narrows Park areas. This details undisputed rationale of the merits of preserving greenspace.

Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day, April 22nd, is  celebrating the day set aside to increase awareness of environmental issues. The first Earth Day in 1970 helped stimulate the environmental movement. Among other strides, the Environmental Protection Agency was created and the Clean Air Act was passed.

“Since the first Earth Day, however, the environmental movement has increasingly transformed itself from a largely grassroots, citizen crusade to a professionally organized, established special interest. Environmental organizations now employ 3,400 full-time employees... Non-profit foundations donate at least $400 million a year to environmental advocacy and research.” (Go to www. Nationalcenter.org/EarthDay02/History. The Western Wildlife Corridor received a $25,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (for staff) to work on the Narrows Park project.

So celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree, participating in a cleanup effort or just doing something good for the environment.

This poster was drawn by Emily Baldwin an 8th grader at Bridgetown Middle School. Her entry won the 8th grade competition from all the counties in Ohio. Emily is the daughter of Colleen and Randy Baldwin of Bridgetown. Congratulations, Emily! Keep drawing!

Local Group Preserves Greenspace by Tim Sisson

Article published in the Press newspapers

Almost ten years ago, a visionary group of individuals established an organization “Western Wildlife Corridor” dedicated to the preservation of greenspace along the Ohio River from Price Hill to the Oxbow along the Great Miami River. Their approach is to preserve land through acquisition or conservation easements.

Greenspace is very important to our way of life in western Hamilton County, providing habitat for wildlife and plants, cleansing the air, helping to regulate temperatures and contributing greatly to the semi-rural atmosphere we value so much. However, the character of greenspace in our region has changed greatly from what it was a hundred years ago. At the turn of the century, most of the forests covering the hillsides along the Ohio River had been cut down to fuel steamboats, power industry (like the pipe foundry at Addyston) or to provide open space for the extensive vineyards in the area. In contrast, the creek valleys leading to the river were largely forested and the rolling slopes between them were primarily fields.

Today that has all changed. The hillsides along the river are for the most part forested but the valleys and fields extending to the north and south are rapidly being developed. This development has removed much of the natural habitat in the area and has fragmented what remains.

It is obvious what the removal of habitat does to wildlife- they become “homeless”, crowded into urban areas, and very often can’t survive. It turns out, however, that fragmentation of habitat is just as crucial to the health of wildlife in an entire region. If wildlife cannot move freely when their habitat has been destroyed, if they cannot mingle easily with others of their kind, they ultimately decline. One way to prevent that is to establish what are called “corridors” that allow the movement of wildlife throughout a region. The Ohio River valley has evolved into one such corridor.

Through the efforts of the Western Wildlife Corridor, considerable land has already been protected in the Ohio River corridor and adjoining natural areas. As they approach their ten year anniversary, they continue to be true to that vision. A recent example is the donation by Peg and Ray Sisson of land in Addyston. This property, situated on the slopes above the Ohio River, is expected to form the nucleus of an expanded area of protected greenspace in the Villages of Addyston and North Bend and in Miami Township.

Another center of attention of the Western Wildlife Corridor is the proposed “Durrell Narrows Park” which focuses on the narrow almost gorge-like portion of the Ohio River valley created at the end of the last ice age in Riverside. It is planned that this protected area will include hiking trails and vantage points offering great views of the river valley.

To learn more about the Western Wildlife Corridor or to find out how you can help with these efforts, please call Cheryl Reinke Peck at 921-WILD (9453).



            Western Wildlife Corridor, Inc.

 4739 Delhi Road

Cincinnati, Ohio 45238

                   513.921.WILD (9453)