Cline Preserve
Darby Creek Conservation Corridor
Muhlenburg Township, Pickaway County
Les and Ethel Cline

AOA celebrated Earth Day by purchasing our first parcel of land along Big Darby Creek! This gorgeous 119-acre site consists of bottomlands and an upland forested ridge and bluff adjacent to the Big Darby, just north of Darbyville in Pickaway County. Approximately 3,500 linear feet of natural river frontage along the Big Darby is protected by this purchase.

We worked with owners Les and Ethel Cline for over a year to preserve this site. AOA is very grateful to the Cline’s for their commitment to land and water conservation along Big Darby Creek and for donating a portion of the property to AOA.

This purchase was made possible by a grant through the Clean Ohio Fund Green Space Conservation Program. A $30,000 gift from an anonymous conservation donor was utilized to complete the purchase.

AOA plans to return much of the current fields on the site to bottomland forest to protect the floodplain and water quality. Grassland savannahs will be established on portions of the property, providing a rich diversity of habitat.

AOA is collaborating with several compatible organizations to help conserve riparian lands in the Big Darby Creek corridor to protect water quality and habitat in this important and valuable river watershed and flyway corridor.

Big Darby Creek is both a state and nationally designated scenic river recognized for its high water quality and biological diversity. It is considered “one of Ohio’s most valued natural resources” and one of the top streams in biological quality in the Midwest. The Cline property helps protect natural habitat for numerous spe- cies of bats, mussels and fish that have been identified as rare and/or endangered.

Marsha Gunder Schneider Preserve
Scioto River Flyway Corridor
Pickaway Township, Pickaway County
Joe Schneider

Marsha Gunder Schneider Preserve
Steve Fleegal, AOA Executive Director, Joe Schneider, Neal Hess, Conservation Realty Group, Al Altfater, AOA President

The Marsha Gunder Schneider preserve consists of an amazing 285-acre riverfront tract located along the Scioto River in the south-central portion of Pickaway County. AOA purchased this property from Joe Schneider with OEPA WRRSP grant assistance after over two years of negotiating and waiting.

Approximately 9,600 linear feet of river frontage is protected by this conserva- tion property. The Scioto River along this reach is designated as an Exceptional Warmwater Habitat that harbors a variety of State-listed species. The west side of the river is already protected by two TNC conservation easements. Five State- listed species (3 Threatened and 2 Endangered) are protected or buffered by this property.

The preserve includes a variety of wetland habitats that attain Category 3 status. Davenport Pond, a spring-fed oxbow lake lies on the eastern edge of the property. A tributary outfall of Davenport Pond and old river run parallels the eastern property boundary. Rehydration of portions of the site will increase wetlands to approximately 100 acres in area.

The Schneider property is a former agricultural field that was clear cut and farmed up to the river’s edge, leaving only a few large trees on the river bank. Joe Schneider initiated restoration of the property for a hunting preserve and has made impressive progress, particularly with establishing healthy stands of trees along the
Scioto riparian corridor. Restoration activities on the site will focus on reforestation of bottomland riparian corridors, reestablishing native grass and prairie species, addressing invasive species issues and enlarging and buffering wetland areas.

The Marsha Gunder Schneider Preserve is the cornerstone property that forms the foundation for AOA’s conservation focus on the Scioto River—Scippo Creek confluence area and our Scioto River Flyway Corridor Initiative. Conservation of the Schneider and other neighboring tracts in this area such as Cossin and Kreisel, help to “defragment” land and create a larger block of habitat. They all protect and buffer critically important riparian and wetland habitat.

The adjacent stretch of the Scioto River includes five fish and two mussel species considered rare, threatened or endangered by the State of Ohio. Fourteen additional mussel species of conservation concern are historically known from this reach and 12 may be present or have the potential to be present with adequate protection and recovery of this stretch of river.

The Scioto River is an important migratory bird pathway in Ohio and the focus of AOA’s Scioto River Flyway Corridor Initiative. AOA’s properties along the Scioto such as the Schneider Preserve provide valuable sanctuary and stopover habitat for migratory species as well as nesting and foraging habitat for many native birds and pollinators.

Kreisel Preserve
Scioto River Flyway Corridor
Pickaway Township, Pickaway County
Ed Kreisel

Kreisel Preserve
Al Altfater, AOA President, Ed Kreisel, Steve Fleegal, AOA Executive Director

AOA purchased several parcels that comprise the 70-acre Kreisel Preserve ffrom Ed Kreisel. This property fronts on Highway 23 in south-central Pickaway County just north of the Ross County line and just east of the Scioto River.

The eastern portion of the property lies on part of a high glacial moraine that slopes steeply to Scippo Creek and the Scioto River floodplain. An abandoned road on the property led to an old Scioto River ford crossing.

The Kreisel Preserve protects approximately 3,500 linear feet of frontage along both sides of Scippo Creek, an OEPA designated Exceptional Warmwater Habitat. It contains several wetlands in low areas along Scippo Creek . Much of the property consists of fallow farmlands, removed from agricultural use relatively recently.

Former agricultural fields and open areas will be restored with native grasses. Riparian corridors along the streams will be replanted with native trees to reestablish the bottomland forest ecosystem in the floodplain and arrest stream bank erosion.

This property abuts the Cossin tracts and is part of a large block of property being assembled by AOA along Scippo Creek and the Scioto River as part of our Scioto River Corridor Initiative.

Cossin Tracts
Scioto River Flyway Corridor
Pickaway Township, Pickaway County
Howard and Mae Cossin

AOA purchased several parcels equaling approximately 140 acres from Howard and Mae Cossin as part of our Scioto River Flyway Corridor Initiative. The Cossin tract stretches along the Scioto River just south of the confluence with Scippo Creek, in Pickaway County. The high elevation on the eastern side of the property lies on the western edge of a large glacial moraine which slopes towards the Scioto River.

The property includes a mix of river and stream frontage, floodway, floodplain, wetland and adjacent terraces and upland areas that will help protect and con- serve the riparian corridor and wetland areas along the Scioto River and Scippo Creek, a tributary of the Scioto. The site contains extensive riparian corridor including 5,100 linear feet of frontage on the east side of the Scioto River, 1,200 linear feet of frontage on each side of Scippo Creek (an OEPA designated Exceptional Warmwater Habitat) and 1,225 linear feet of frontage on an unnamed tributary of the Scioto.

AOA will undertake a variety of site restoration activities to re-establish native systems to the site. Approximately 55 acres of agricultural fields will be reforested and/or restored with native prairie grasses. Cut-over bottomland areas will be reforested through managed succession which has already begun. Long-term, all riparian corridors and floodplain areas will be returned to native bottomland forest habitat to protect and improve water quality.

Quiver Full Family Farm
Agricultural Conservation Easement
Walnut Township, Pickaway County
James and Karin Barr

Quiver Full Family Farm
Al Altfater, AOA President, Karin Barr, James Barr, Steve Goodwin, AOA Land Protection Specialist

James and Karin Barr operate a small family farm where they implement sustainable farming practices. James and Karin have been awarded a Local Agricultural Conservation Easement Protection grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture which was sponsored by AOA. James and Karin are donating the 25% local or in- kind match for their project.
Their 92-acre farm located east of Ashville, Pickaway County, adjoins three other properties owned by members of the Barr family. All of these properties are participating in the Clean Ohio funded agricultural conservation easement program.

Once completed these four farms will preserve nearly 370 acres of contiguous farm land. James and brother Dean Barr are planning for the future by assisting James and Karin’s son Tim as one of the successors in the family farming business and have included him as a partner in neighboring Mound View Farm.

Fought Preserve
Addition to Bison Hollow Preserve
Jackson Township, Vinton County
Steve Fought

Fought Preserve
Steve Fleegal, AOA Executive Director, Steve Fought, Neal Hess, Conservation Realty Group, Al Altfater, AOA President

AOA recently purchased a spectacular 21-acre parcel that expands our Bison Hol- low Preserve on the Hocking / Vinton County line. The Fought Preserve addition features outstanding Hocking Hills terrain including black-hand sandstone bluffs and rock overhangs that form a narrow gorge along the East Fork of Queer Creek.

Steve Fought discusses his love of this property in a stirring testimonial he wrote about his search for this special landscape and his strong feelings of attachment. “I decided to sell the property to AOA because I love it so much.”

His desire to permanently preserve this unique Ohio landscape and the angst he experienced in deciding to sell it to AOA are revealed in his poignant words. Read Steve’s moving testimonial on AOA’s website.

Some of you may have already hiked on the Fought Preserve site when visiting our adjoining Bison Hollow Preserve. If not, please plan to join us next year when we will lead a hike through Bison Hollow to view this extraordinary property.

Without the conservation efforts of the Appalachia Ohio Alliance, properties like the Fought Preserve are at risk — their natural beauty and distinctive features permanently lost. We are grateful for the support and assistance of our friends who helped us protect this site and others like it.