AOA is celebrating a significant conservation achievement and another great addition to our Scioto River Flyway Corridor Initiative.
We purchased several parcels equaling approximately 140 acres from Howard and Mae Cossin last week following two years of negotiations. 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 conserve 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.
Conservation of the Cossin property will help to protect and buffer critically important 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. Preserves such as the Cossin property provide valuable stopover habitats for migratory species as well as nesting and foraging habitat for many native birds and pollinators.