Ohio DNR Purchases 100 Acres on Little Darby Creek

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently purchased 100 acres on Little Darby Creek in Madison County as an additional measure of protection for this state and national scenic river - and the endangered clubshell mussel, which calls its waters home.

"Little Darby Creek is one of the Midwest's most varied and important aquatic environments," said Sean D. Logan, ODNR director. "This purchase will help protect the stream, while providing public access to its singular beauty."

The property, located on the south side of the Village of West Jefferson, was acquired from local developers Possumbilities LLC and Sovereign Communities for $858,460. Each organization expressed a long-held desire to protect Little Darby Creek.

"I have worked for many years to protect the land along the Little Darby and its rare and endangered species," said Robin Green of Possumbilities LLC. "I am pleased to be able to have this property protected in perpetuity."

"The sale of the land is consistent with Sovereign's green building philosophy, which seeks to protect the environment and conserve natural resources," said Ted Uritus, president of Sovereign Communities, the parent company of Sovereign Homes. "Sovereign is proud to sell this land to protect the Little Darby."

Funding for the purchase came from a variety of agencies including: $250,000 from the Franklin County Metropolitan Park District; $247,395 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; $243,360 from the ODNR Division of Wildlife, and $117,699 from the ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves. ODNR will manage the property, while the Franklin County Metropolitan Park District holds a license to build hiking trails and improve fishing access.

With this acquisition, more than 570 acres in the Little Darby Creek watershed are permanently protected from development, either through outright purchases or conservation easements negotiated by ODNR. Sales of the Ohio Scenic Rivers license plate provided funding for many of these acquisitions.