Action on the proposal by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the creation of a national wildlife refuge in the Darby Watershed, 25 miles west of Columbus has been postponed. Proponent Senator Mike DeWine requested more study of the project in the form of an environmental impact statement (EIS). This compromise was suggested because of introduced amendments to bills that might have become insurmountable obstacles to any success.
The existing environmental assessment provides an excellent analysis along with some private studies, so the need for a lengthy EIS process seems to simply be a stalling tactic by opponents. If portions of the Darby Creek watershed, named a “Last Great Place” by The Nature Conservancy, are to become a National Wildlife Refuge it will take sustained effort by conservation groups behind the leadership of Senator DeWine. Issues of land rights, endangered species, and the distrust of the federal government will all have to be addressed.