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Preserving Legacies: Oxbow, Inc’s Wetlands and Farmlands Support Migration Crossroads

The Oxbow Nature Conservancy is a 1630-acre refuge in the floodplain of the Great Miami River at its confluence with the Ohio River. It is a critical rest stop along a major migration highway.

The area is a major migratory stop for a variety of species of birds — over 290 species! Oxbow, Inc. maintains wetlands, lakes, rivers, prairies and woodlands on the property, as well as 720 acres that is in agriculture including 490 acres of leased land.

Farming Has Been Part of this Land for Centuries

While most of the land contains recovered and managed habitat, the inclusion of farming has been very beneficial. Each year, a portion of the crops are left behind to feed migrating and over-wintering animals, and income from leases support operation costs. Farmed land provides another type of edge for the edge ecosystem that is the hallmark and strength of the preserve. By keeping some land in production, Oxbow has developed partnerships with local farmers who provide valuable expertise, technical assistance, and equipment.
In part, this work is a legacy of the founders of the land trust, some of whom were from families that have farmed in the “bottoms” for nearly two centuries.

This story was originally published in the State of the Lands 2023. Read the entire issue digitally here.