Scioto River Corridor at Hopeton

Acres: 40 Donation Value: $120,000

 

Connecting Two Earthworks in Chillicothe

1.5 Miles of Riparian Corridor. The Arc has been the recipient of a 39-acre donation of land on the main stem of the Scioto River, just north of Chillicothe. The tract protects 1.5 miles of riparian forest, with an intact assemblage of trees 50 to 60 years old, including cottonwood, black walnut, silver maple, sycamore, box elder, and hackberry.

An Important Flyway for Neotropical Birds. Bird migration along the Scioto corridor is a major natural spectacle in the spring and autumn. In spring and fall, flocks of warblers, vireos, and other birds migrate through, while in summer, the corridor supports breeding wood ducks and mallards, egrets, herons, bald eagles, and prothonotary warblers.

Protecting one of the Scioto’s most intact aquatic ecosystems. High populations of three interesting turtle species have been observed in the Hopeton Riparian Corridor, including Eastern Spiny Softhshell, the Common Map Turtle, and significantly, the Ouachita Map Turtle, a species of concern in Ohio. More at home on the Mississippi River, the Ouachita Map Turtle is not found anywhere in our state except in the lower Scioto, and only in Ross and Pickaway Counties. Yet, along the Hopeton Riparian Corridor, they are relatively common. Other rare species found in the Hopeton section of the Scioto include the endangered Fawnsfoot mussel, Fanshell mussel, and River Redhorse and Tippecanoe Darter (both fish species).

Connecting Hopeton Earthworks to Mound City Group. The Scioto River and its tributary Paint Creek were once so rich in wildlife that it was able to nourish the great mound-building cultures of Ohio. Of the 36 large complexes of symmetrical walls, mounds, and walled promenades built by the Hopewell Culture, roughly 2000 years ago, the vast majority of them were erected on the banks of Paint Creek and the Scioto. That wasn’t an accident. Both Hopeton and Mound City Group Earthworks are part of the submission expected to receive World Heritage designation. This new preserve will help buffer two world-significant sites!

This gorgeous gem of a darter is the smallest known darter, averaging only 1.3 inches long. Darters are endemic to North America, and thankfully, the Tippecanoe is making a comeback on its big river home in the Scioto and Ohio Rivers, as evidenced by the orange dots in the map below. Tippecanoes have been found just south of Hopeton, and are protected by this new preserve.
Ouachita Map Turtle. This small section of the Scioto River in the Hopeton region is the only place in Ohio that this turtle species can be found. It is listed in Ohio as a species of concern. Shutterstock, copyright protected.