Nearly all of the Valley View property lies below the 100 year floodplain of the East Fork of the Little Miami River. This picture,was taken during a severe storm in May 2003 and shows the Valley View fields flooded with several feet of water. The undeveloped land at Valley View functions as a natural pressure relief valve on the East Fork protecting homes and businesses up and down the River from more severe flooding. The grasses we've planted in the prairie areas act as a natural filter that removes silt and sediment from the flood waters, improving water quality in the East Fork and the Little Miami Rivers. As witnessed in the Nashville floods of 2010 and the Falmouth flood of 1997, lands never thought susceptible to flooding can be destroyed in short order causing loss of life and property. Valley View serves an important role in the community by providing flood storage capacity to minimize severity of flooding, Before the Army Corps of Engineers built Harsha Lake Dam upstream on the East Fork, the flooding at our property was regular and substantially greater. Historic photos show water near the top of the tobacco barn on the Valley View property. This would equate to about 30 feet of water in the photo shown above.
Before settlers entered the Milford area in the 1790s, the Valley View property was likely a mosaic of woodlands and grasslands. Over the years, the land was cleared for agricultural purposes and natural wetlands were drained using field drainage tiles. As Valley View took ownership of the property and active farming ceased the agricultural fields are slowly reverting to their natural state. The area shown above was "always wet and hard to farm" according to the families who once worked these farms. Now it is flooded during the wet seasons and, as shown here, providing a habitat for local and migratory birds. According to U.S. EPA, "wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface." Successional wetlands are those that are returning to their natural state after some type of disturbance - in the case of Valley View - farming. Valley View's wetland areas are available to the public and student groups for research and education.
The East Fork of the Little Miami River runs through Valley View. For more than a mile, the river meanders through the woodlands on our property. As seen above, these woodlands have undulating terrain because the East Fork has migrated across the property over the years carving new embankments and creating confined areas such as this where water is trapped for much of the year. These riparian wetlands provide important environmental benefits and ideal habitat for amphibians and reptiles such as frogs and snakes. These riparian wetlands support a biological cleaning system that removes nitrogen and phosphorus from surface water and groundwater before it enters the East Fork. Nitrogen and phosphorus are common fertilizers used on farms such as Valley View and on lawns and gardens. If nitrogen and phosphorus levels get too high in the East Fork, the water quality for fish and other wildlife decreases. Research indicates that riparian wetlands can remove 85% of the nitrogen and phosphorus that passes through them. Ohio EPA, the City of Milford and Valley View cooperated on a $151,000 grant to purchase the riparian area at Valley View for permanent conservation.