Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)
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3528 North High Street Suite F
Columbus, OH 43214
Ms. Laura A Fay  
Social Media
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CEO/Executive Director
Board Chair
Ms. Gretchen Farnung

To keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision makers.

Organization Overview

Impact Statement


  • We planted over 3 acres of floodplain at Broad Meadows Boulevard thanks to our partners at Battelle's River and Stream Team and the land manager Showe Realty. We planted 1,750 seedling trees and 15 larger trees to celebrate earth month. This will improve the river habitat; reduce the amount of mowing, fertilzer, and herbicide applied; and provide more habitat.

    With our partners at Anheuser-Busch, we cleaned up trash, removed invasive purple loosestrife, and watered our new trees at the Broad Meadows floodplain site.

  • We implemented an Olentangy Urban Rainscape Project at five new homes in Weinland Park as part of our outreach and environmental education to all Columbus developers on the value of infiltrating stormwater to create valuable amentities to the land owner.

    We also educated local residents on the importance of water conservation and how to get a free rain barrel through the city's low-income rain barrel program.

  • We worked on outreach and education on the value of removing the 5th Avenue dam and the importance of reducing stormwater; completed our education efforts at Liberty Park at the new Stormwater Best Management Practice demonstration stations; and installed two butterfly gardens, one at the Columbus International high school and one at White Castle headquarters.

  • FLOW conducted five rain barrel  workshops.

2014 GOALS

  • We will work with the City of Columbus City forester, and other land owners like River Lodge Apartments, Ohio State University Wetland, White Castle headquarters, and the School for the Deaf to remove invasive species like Tree of Heaven, Eunoymous, Bush Honeysuckle, and Purple Loosestrife.

  • We will plant butterfly and pollinator gardens to improve the habitat in the Olentangy Watershed. We will reach out to schools, showing them how to meet Ohio Academic Content Standards and improve the environment for students.

  • We will work with River Network to improve our annual fundraising and communication with residents so that FLOW can be more effective. 

Background Statement

Founded in 1997, FLOW's aim has been to keep the Olenangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision makers. We are best known for our Watershed Action Plan, which identifies the problems on the Olentangy River and makes specific recommendations for solutions. We created the action plan by working with multiple partners (both government and private). Our work at this time is focused on implementing the recommendations contained in the action plan. We are also known for our Backyard Conservation Program, which teaches homeowners simple things (such as the use of rain barrels) that they can do in their own yards to help protect our rivers and streams. We actively promote recreational opportunities on the Olentangy River, most recently through the creation of a water trail that increases public access for canoeists and kayakers. Our water-trail program emphasizes safety and awareness of the lowhead dams that can be a hazard for boaters. With only a part-time staff person, we are volunteer-driven, and we offer many exciting volunteer opportunities.



Additional Organization Information
Number of Full-Time Staff:
Number of Part-Time Staff:
Number of Volunteers: 1000 
Staff Retention Rate:


Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Fundraising Plan No
Management Succession/Training Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures No
Strategic Plan No
Additional Organization Information
  • Battelle River and Stream Team: Work annually with Battelle on tree planting projects.
  • Franklin Soil and Water: Participate in the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative Projects.
  • Liberty Park Township: Assist with writing grants, acquiring Army Corps of Engineers permits, and developing the request for proposals from contractors.
  • United Crestview Area Neighbors: Work cooperatively to implement the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum.


Local Governing Board
Board Chair Ms. Gretchen Farnung,
Board Chair Term 6/2013 -  5/2014  
Board Members
Ms. Laura A Fay,  
Mr. Kent Halloran,  
Ms. Linda Hart,  
Dr. Andrew Heckler Ph.D.,  
Mr. Palus Jim,  
Mr. Steve Leahy,  
Mr. Brian Ogle,  
Mr. David White,  
Additional Organization Information
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 81% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 100%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 100%
Gender Female 33%
  Male 67%
Race African-American/Black 0%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 89%
  Hispanic/Latino 0%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 11%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.


Olentangy Water Trail

FLOW works to promote the creation of a water trail on the Olentangy River. The purpose of the program is to increase recreational opportunities by creating public access points for canoes and kayaks. We also seek to educate the public about potential safety issues on the river, such as lowhead dams. FLOW and The Ohio State University Engineers without Borders recently created a water trail access at Wilson Bridge Road.

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Backyard Conservation Program

FLOW conducts educational workshops for homeowners on simple things they can do in their own yards to save money and resources while helping to protect the Olentangy River. Topics include: rain barrels, rain gardens, lawn care, native plants, and composting. We offer a cost-share for the purchase of rain barrels. 

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Adopt-an-Area of the Olentangy

FLOW coordinates volunteer workdays for community groups, schools, and businesses to plant trees, remove invasive plants, and pick up litter along the Olentangy River and its tributaries. These events are open to the public and families are welcome. FLOW currently has 26 Adopt-A-Spot groups that conduct at least two cleanup or planting projects per year.

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Watershed Action Plan

In 2005, FLOW created an EPA-endorsed Watershed Action Plan for the Olentangy River. Our staff worked with stakeholders in Franklin and Delaware counties and the cities of Columbus, Worthington, Upper Arlington, Powell, and Delaware to make specific recommendations for protecting and improving the Olentangy River. The recommendations are focused on storm water, land use, human health and sanitation, habitat and recreation, hydromodification, and education. Currently, we are in the implementation phase of this project, working with our partners to carry out the recommendations contained in the plan.

FLOW's science committee meets monthly to discuss new projects, grant opportunities, and potential partners for implementing watershed improvement projects.

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Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013
Projected Revenue $74,130
Projected Expense $41,910
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? No
Anticipate a capital campaign in next 5 years? No

Revenues by Source

  2012   2011   2010  
Total Direct Support $22,817  $22,743  $81,557 
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals
Direct Support Unspecified $22,817  $22,743  $81,557 
Indirect Public Support
Earned Revenue $45,649  $5,243  $1,467 
Interest and Dividends
Membership Dues $5,664  $6,121 
Special Events $1,018 
Other $700 
TOTAL REVENUE $74,130  $35,825  $83,024 

Expense by Type

  2012   2011   2010  
Programs $35,477  $25,695  $60,865 
Administration $8,631  $10,535  $27,777 
Payment to Affiliates
TOTAL EXPENSES $44,108  $36,230  $88,642 

Assets and Liabilities

  2012   2011   2010  
Total Assets $64,071  $33,999  $34,699 
Current Assets $64,071  $33,999  $34,419 
Total Liabilities
Current Liabilities
NET ASSETS $64,071  $33,999  $34,699 


TCF Staff:
Mr. Brian Ogle

Fiscal year 2012 revenue reflects the Olentangy Urban Rainscape grant awarded by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Education Fund, and the organization's successful fundraising efforts, including the Liberty Township Wildcat Run.

Documents Form 990 2012 Form 990 2011 Form 990 2010

All portrait information is provided voluntarily by nonprofit organizations. An organization may decline to participate. At a minimum, information is updated annually--sometimes more frequently. Documents indicated as available by an organization are verified by Foundation staff. The financial section is completed by Foundation staff based on available documents for a three-year period.