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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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American chestnut planting

Raccoon Creek Partnership (RCP) staff poses for a photograph after planting sixty-seven American Chestnut trees at a water treatment site within the watershed. From left to right: Tim Ferrell, Amy Mackey, Kristin Kindler and Kim Brewster. 

Photographer: Kim Brewster

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OHIO research project enables local American chestnut tree planting


On Nov. 10, sixty-seven American chestnut trees were planted at a Raccoon Creek Partnership water treatment site in the Raccoon Creek Watershed thanks to a gift by Ohio University researchers.

Graduate student Nathan Daniel and his advisor Brian McCarthy, both of whom work on chestnut restoration in southeast Ohio, donated eighty trees and several hundred protective tubes to the initiative. The chestnut seedlings were what remained of an experiment that Daniel completed for his Master of Science in Environmental Studies (MSES) degree research, which he plans to defend later this month.

"After completing my research project, I wanted the $1,500 worth of equipment to go to good use. I spoke with Kim Brewster, [an AmeriCorps member with the Raccoon Creek Partnership], and she made this project a reality," said Daniel. "I believe this partnership will advance the objectives of both organizations."

McCarthy, a professor of forest ecology at Ohio University, said his lab has been working tirelessly for the last decade to understand the ecology of the American chestnut – a forest species that was functionally extinct prior to a large-scale reintroduction effort by the American Chestnut Foundation, where the seeds originated.

The goal of the American Chestnut Foundation is to restore the American chestnut tree to the nation's eastern woodlands to benefit the environment, wildlife and society. Raccoon Creek Partnership  is a non-profit organization with a mission to restore, improve and conserve the health of the Raccoon Creek Watershed in southeast Ohio.

Raccoon Creek Partnership planted the American chestnuts near a steel slag leach bed site within the East Branch Phase II water treatment project, where the trees will help prevent erosion, improve riparian habitat, the interface between land and a river or stream, and help purify the air and water in the watershed.

"Planting trees, especially along riparian corridors, can be a great way to improve the health of our watershed in addition to the reclamation and water treatment projects completed by Raccoon Creek Partnership," Brewster said.

Remaining trees will be planted at Raccoon Creek Partnership’s Waterloo Aquatic Education Center in New Marshfield.

"This is a really wonderful example of academic researchers partnering with a community watershed group to begin that process of reintroduction. We are glad we could assist in some small way to get that process started locally," McCarthy said.

Related Links

American Chestnut Foundation* Raccoon Creek Partnership*

Additional Info

*Following this link takes you outside of Ohio University's website.