Glen Echo Ravine
The Glen Echo Tributary flows in a ravine from I-71 under the railroad tracks through Glen Echo Park, by residential homes, small-scale retail and two schools. It enters the Olentangy River at RM 4.0 in Franklin County, City of Columbus upstream from the Dodridge Street Dam. The ravine is home to many birds such as Pileated Woodpeckers, Great Horned Owls, Coopers Hawks, Sharp-Shinned Hawks, and Ringnecked Pheasants as well as many mammals and wildflowers. There is a large wooded area within the Glen Echo Park that provides habitat for many of these creatures.
The Glen Echo Neighborhood is recognized as a special subsection in the northernmost part of the University District. Residents living on or near the Ravine care for it deeply. In fact, they have asked the City of Columbus to develop a comprehensive plan for its preservation as a natural area. Many residents visit the Ravine; this is evident from the amount of walking paths present. There is a path alongside the Calumet Bridge, near the Rax and Big Bear parking lots, and at the Olentangy Village Apartments in addition to the paths in Glen Echo Park.
The citizens group Friends of the Ravines also has a sub-group dedicated to the preservation of Glen Echo Ravine: Friends of the Ravines; Glen Echo (FORGE). Friends of the Ravines began the restoration of the southern slope of Glen Echo Ravine in 2003 with a $20,000 restoration grant from The Columbus Foundation. The first phase restored the area from North Fourth Street to the intersection of Glenmawr Avenue and Cliffside Drive. In 2005, The Columbus Foundation awarded Friends of the Ravines $10,855 for Phase 2 of the south slope restoration. This part of the project restored the area west of the stone wall and east of the wooden steps from Cliffside Drive—the steepest grade on the south side of the ravine In 2007, The Columbus Foundation awarded Friends of the Ravines a third conservation grant, totaling $3500, for the beautification of the east entrance of Glen Echo Park and the reforestation of the south slope. Numerous volunteers from the neighborhood planted the following tree species on the slopes: Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa), Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica), Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), and Pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) and Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) trees were planted on the rim of the slope that borders Cliffside Drive.
The Glen Echo Tributary flows under High Street after passing through one of the most interesting pieces of hidden architecture in the city. The Glen Echo Ravine terminates into a unique storm water control structure that is designed to keep large debris from entering and clogging the large culvert that carries the stream under High Street. The concrete channel does not allow water to flow naturally, and is therefore an impediment to the tributary. However, because of changes farther upstream, including directing runoff from I-71 into the Glen Echo Ravine, measures like this are probably necessary to prevent further erosion.
EPA water quality assessments are based on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the river. This tributary is classified as “non-attaining” for an undesignated habitat. Based on testing done in 2003, Glen Echo was found to suffer from nutrient enrichment and eroding channels and has been dewatered. Causes of the nutrient enrichment are sanitary sewer overflows. The city of Columbus has plans to improve the sewer system in the area, which should reduce the nutrient enrichment caused by sanitary sewer overflows.