The Little Miami River’s role as an economic and environmental asset within the Dayton community continues to be recognized as the river is currently celebrating its 50th year as a scenic river.
The importance and value of the river is promoted by numerous groups within the Dayton region such as the Little Miami Watershed Network and the University of Dayton’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community’s River Stewards. These organizations work to protect the river and surrounding watershed, encourage education about the river’s historical significance, and engender engagement within and between the Dayton community and the river.
The Little Miami Watershed Network and River Stewards have partnered to complete projects such as an economic and environmental assessment of the Little Miami’s impact on the Greene County region. The results of the project further illustrate the incredible value of the state’s first and longest scenic river— a river with over 87 species of fish and 36 species of mussels, and which increases home property values of those living in the region by $7.05 for each foot closer to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
The river’s ability to enrich the community is further exemplified by its service as a community recreational outlet. Over 500,000 people interact with the Little Miami each year, utilizing it for activities such as boating, fishing, and biking on the trails nearby. As the river provides means for community interaction and engagement, increases the economic and environmental value of the region, and supplies clean water, additional projects completed by the organizations hope to increase awareness about the necessity of the protection of the Little Miami River and Little Miami Watershed.
For example, you may find storm drain markers placed around the county that describe the importance of keeping harmful substances from entering the storm drains which will, eventually, end up in the river if not disposed of properly. Promotion of stewardship and sustainability is another one of the primary pursuits of both organizations and is achieved by increasing awareness through projects such as these.
To communicate their mission of sustainability, the Little Miami Watershed Network and River Stewards also developed an informational poster which focused on describing the local impacts of climate change and provided viewers with ideas on how to incorporate sustainable actions into their daily lives — such as decreasing their individual trash production and plastic usage.
Encouraging sustainability and stewardship of the Little Miami ensures that it continues on to celebrate many more anniversaries as Ohio’s first and longest state scenic river.
Shannon Stanforth is a junior graphic design major at the University of Dayton and a member of the River Stewards at UD.