Hawthorne Crossing Conservation Area, Campbell County Conservation District, 135 acres.
The lower Licking River watershed is comprised of approximately 1.8 million acres and is home to more than 50 mussels of which 11 are endangered and more than 70 species of fish including the highly prized muskie and paddlefish and the uncommon redside dace, mimic shiner, streamline chub, slender madtom, blue sucker, eastern sand, tippecanoe and sharpnose darters The watershed is approximately 40% forested and 60% agricultural land and the greatest threat to the system is excessive nutrient loads caused by agricultural fertilizer runoff, livestock manure, faulty septic and sewer systems, and non-point source pollution. This conservation area protects 3,000 linear feet of river bank and associated riparian forest and more than 2000 linear feet of riffle creek, including the confluence with the Licking River. In 2012 an extensive stream and wetland restoration project was completed by the Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Applied Ecology. The forested habitats are mostly young and regenerating with poor species diversity and have been heavily invaded with non-native invasive plants, particularly bush honeysuckle. The riparian forest is dominated by small silver maple and box elder trees with the occasional sycamore, cottonwood, osage orange, black walnut, slippery elm and hackberry. The herb layer in places contains a good diversity of native plants including various wild rye grasses, phlox, dwarf larkspur, wingstem, white snakeroot, violets, bedstraw, wild bean , common groundsel, wild ginger, waterleaf , corn salad, and goldenglow and in other areas is completely dominated by exotics including Japanese grass, Japanese hops, garlic mustard winter creeper, and reed canary grass. The upland forests are also young and dominated by red cedar, osage orange, honey locust and black locust with an understory of bush honeysuckle. Other trees occasionally found in the forests include scarlet and chinquapin oak, white ash, sugar maple, pignut hickory, Ohio buckeye, black walnut and slippery elm. The remaining 12% of the land is overgrown old fields, pastures, and shrub thickets dominated by tall goldenrod, tall fescue, smooth brome, orchard grass, and a wide variety of invasive exotic plants including multiflora rose, Queen Anne's lace, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, teasel, red and white clovers, bush honeysuckle and osage orange. There is one small wet meadow dominated by sedges, rushes, swamp milkweed, agrimony, and bugleweed. One hundred forty four plant species have been documented on the property of which 21% are exotic, invasive species.
Not open to the public at this time until a management plan has been approved and trails have been constructed.