I found yet another source of Ohio pride yesterday at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Galloway! This is the largest Metro Park in Ohio, covering over 7,000 acres of forests, fields, and prairies along the Big and Little Darby Creeks. These National Scenic Rivers are the most diverse streams for their size in North America, with 100 species of fish and 44 species of freshwater mussels. They are known for their excellent water quality despite some environmental problems in the watershed.
I had the opportunity to get in there and see for myself just how good this water quality is with my Natural History of Ohio class at Ohio State. We went out there yesterday and talked with naturalist Tim Taylor, who showed us a reliable way to test for water quality using insects and fish that live in the stream.
We were excited that it was such a nice day yesterday, because Tim wanted us to get in the water to catch our samples... The water temperature hasn't quite caught up with the weather yet.
Each species of insect that we caught in our nets was assigned a point value based on how common it is and how good an indicator of water quality that species is. Water samples give you an indication of water quality at the time you collect them, but catching bugs and fish tells you that the water is of high enough quality for them to survive over longer periods of time. Each species only counted toward our water quality points once, so we had to go out several times to see how many different types we could catch. Tim told us that a score of 22 points means a stream is of excellent quality, and we scored over 30!
My new buddy, the biggest crawdad we caught.
If you're not into catching bugs, you can take our word for it that Big Darby boasts some of the highest water quality in Ohio and come to the park to check out some of the other features. They have a LEED-certified visitor center, designed to reduce waste and energy use. It has an indoor creek, where you will be able to find some of the fish we caught yesterday, and they have an outdoor area where you can view bison. There are picnic areas, hiking trails, bike paths, canoe and fishing areas, and natural play areas for kids - check out all the recreational activities on their website. Their list of programs includes yoga in the park, moonlit night hikes, and other ranger led programs for all ages. Also, coming up is the Central Ohio Folk Festival the first full weekend in May.
See you at the park,