Mission: Ohio River Foundation is dedicated to protecting and improving the water quality and ecology of the Ohio River and all waters in its 11-state watershed. ORF works towards these goals through environmental education and conservation activities that serve to inspire environmental stewardship for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future citizens.
Founded in 2000, ORF is a non-profit with a comprehensive approach to watershed conservation. Its primary activities are in education and habitat restoration.
Major programs include:
River Explorer -an award winning education program that reaches more than 4,000 students and more than 12,000 student contact hours per year in Greater Cincinnati and Columbus per year with hands-on STEM education. In 2019, River Explorer passed the 45,000 student milestone. In fall 2017, ORF introduced a first-in-the-nation Mussels in the Classroom program. More than 4,000 students have since participated in this unique hands-on multi-day learning experience.
Youth summer education programs; restoring habitat on public lands and training the next generation of environmental stewards. Since 2011, students have completed more than 250 projects on public lands in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Our regional Restoration Program continues to grow with projects in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. These activities include invasive plant removals and small dam removals. Since 2011, we have removed 4 dams, installed 2 bridges, planted 20,000 trees, removed hundreds of thousands of invasive species, and restored more than 200 miles of rivers. We also have begun to assist local communities with habitat restoration and invasive species control in their parks and preserves.
ORF also successfully created and coordinates the activities of the Ohio River Valley Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area to combat the spread of invasive species in 22 counties in SW Ohio, SE Indiana, and NKY.
Our Advocacy program facilitates collaborative efforts to develop a comprehensive Ohio River ecosystem restoration program. We also build coalition support for pollution reduction in the Ohio River watershed, and investigate Clean Water Act violations and compliance issues.