Enjoying a paddling trip is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Central Ohio’s rivers and streams, as well as the ecosystems they contain. Look out for the diverse plant and animal species that can be found in Central Ohio. When on the water, protect biodiversity for future generations and be careful to not disturb habitats.


Plants that grow along streams and riverbanks are called riparian vegetation. They play a vital role in preventing erosion and trapping pollutants. As trees from riparian areas fall into the river, the flow of water slows and creates pools of water that become essential fish habitats. Some of the benefits that a healthy riparian corridor provides includes:

  • Reduced pollution like chemical and sediment runoff in waterways
  • Erosion prevention
  • Cooler waters
  • Food sources for instream wildlife
  • Better paddling environments for waterway users.


However, overuse of streams and rivers can reduce the integrity of riparian areas and degrade stream quality. To mitigate this effect, only enter Central Ohio’s Blueways through designated access points and make sure to carry your boat instead of dragging it through vegetation.


Click here to visit the Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed’s page on Riparian Corridors.

Ohio’s rivers and streams are home to a diverse array of animal and plant species. Over 90% of Ohio’s aquatic species primarily reside in streams. However, introducing new species can be disruptive to local ecosystems. Try these tips to avoid unwittingly transporting invasive plant and animal species:

  • Clean off watercraft and any additional gear by scrubbing and rinsing visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud.
  • Drain all the water from watercraft and anything else that may retain water before leaving the water access area.
  • Make sure everything is dried for five days or more to kill smaller invasive species that can’t be seen.
  • At a minimum, wipe your watercraft down with a towel before reusing it.


Click here to visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Resources page.

Sign up to receive our
News & Events

Newsletter Signup
First Name
Last Name