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School of Environment and Natural Resources


ORWRP's Designation

OSU’s Designation

On April 19, 2008, the ORWRP joined a group of over 2000 wetlands worldwide under the Ramsar Convention. The convention designates sites around the globe based on a list nine criteria. This is used to look at the depth of conservation at each site, and the efforts they are making to maintain biodiversity, restoration, and ecosystem services for the environment. Each year more and more sites are added to the list of Ramsar wetlands, and each new site provides the opportunity for more collaboration and conservation at the global level.

The ORWRP’s site is unique for its location in an urban environment on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. This allows for countless research, teaching, and outreach opportunities for OSU students and the Columbus community. Out of the nine total criteria points, the ORWRP was selected for the approval of five criteria. From supporting influential fish species to protecting important endangered or threatened species, this site allows for a diverse wetland ecosystem. Today, not many urban wetlands remain in the United States. This makes OSU’s commitment to restoring and protecting this essential ecosystem extremely important. And through student and staff research, we can hope to gain knowledge of their importance and how other urban settings can follow in the path of the ORWRP.

Designation Criteria

Out of the nine possible criteria points of importance, the following five were selected as applicable criteria to the ORWRP.

Criteria 1 – Importance to Biogeographic Region’s Representative, Rare, or Unique Wetlands

The wetlands at the ORWRP represent a rather unique habitat with a bottomland hardwood forest separating the wetlands from their source in the Olentangy River. They also aid in water quality and floodwater storage for the Columbus Community.

Criteria 2 – Importance to Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered Species

The parks diverse and unique bird species make this location ideal for bird watching. The Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier, Merlin, and Bald Eagle are a few examples of rare/endangered species that can be found at the ORWRP.

Criteria 3 – Importance for Maintaining Biodiversity of Biogeographic Region

The ORWRP is home to many bird species from a variety of ecoregions including the Northern Forests, Hudson Plain, and Taiga of Canada. Many migratory birds can also be seen at the park, as they commonly stop for resting periods during migration.

Criteria 4 – Important as Refuge during Adverse Conditions

The spring season is a very critical point of refuge for many fish in the surrounding Olentangy River. Many species are swept into the wetlands, where they are allowed to grow and expand as a population while protected from the seasonal floods.

Criteria 7 – Important in Support of Fish

This oxygen rich section of the Olentangy River is ideal for many species of fish, and produces one of the most diverse fish communities in all of Ohio.