The Cincinnati Zoo is converting old cropland into a thriving wetlands environment between Mason and Lebanon in Warren County. This short video gives a update on the status of this effort.
Scott Brunka and Friends of Miller Park in Lebanon visited the Cincinnati Zoo’s wetland project
located between Lebanon and Mason on Wednesday, September 25. The purpose of
the visit was to observe first hand how old cropland was converted into a water based
ecologcal environment favorable to plants, animals, birds, and insects. Miller Park has
the potential to enhance several small wet areas in the newly acquired acreage, and is
looking closely at the experiences of others who have already undertaken similar
Brian Jorg, Manager of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo, led the Miller Park reps
through the fields to see several wetland pockets created by the construction of holding
The zoo project is largely possible through donation of the land to the zoo and an
influx of grant money. Brian showed how he has laboriously planted thousands of trees,
shrubs, wildflowers and aquatic plants in and around the wetland pools. He indicated
that excessive cattail growth can be an impediment to developing an ideal wetland
especially for shore birds.
The zoo property is a conservation project created to serve as a wildlife refuge for
native mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects. It is not a park with public
access, and permission is required to walk the property. This is for the protection of the
flora and fauna living there. Brian was very pleased with the number of waterfowl
species that have visited the new wetlands in the first year since construction began.
Draining wetlands is easy. More than 90% of Ohio’s original wetlands are gone as
swamps were drained to expand farmland. Restoring or constructing wetlands presents
many challenges. We should actively continue seeking advice as
we learn from the findings of those who have already gone down this road.