Big Darby Creek Headwaters

Restoration Project

Central Ohio’s Big Darby Creek State and National Scenic River is one of the most biologically diverse aquatic systems in the Midwest.

But follow the river north, to the headwaters where the river is born, and water quality decreases. Here, decades of channel modifications made for farm drainage and highway construction turned the creek into a ditch.

This ditch (depicted in the graphic shown) is unnaturally deep and prone to erosion. The resulting high sediment loads and higher water temperature create low water quality conditions that many aquatic species can’t tolerate.

A natural channel (depicted in the graphic shown) meanders. Its vegetation cools waters, lays the foundation for the food chain, helps to filter pollutants and stabilizes banks.

In an effort to reverse the damage in the Darby headwaters, The Nature Conservancy in 2007 launched an ambitious restoration project (seen here from above).

Completed in 2011, the project restored more than 7,000 feet of stream.

Over the course of four years, more than 98,659 -cubic yards of soil were excavated as part of the project.

When the restoration area is fully recovered, 33 species of fish are expected to inhabit the headwaters.

In winter of 2012, the restoration area resembled a golf course. Since then, more than 34,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted and more than 100 tree “root wads” were installed in the stream to improve aquatic habitat.

In time, this part of Big Darby Creek’s headwaters will spring back to life. You can help protect this special place for future generations. Give now.


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