Volunteers Monitor Health of Ohio's Scenic Rivers--More Than 5,000 Take Part in ODNR Stream quality Monitoring Program
June 23, 1997
COLUMBUS, OH -- More than 5,000 Ohioans are voluntarily getting their feet wet this summer, wading through scenic rivers and rural streams to help state officials gauge the health of Ohio waterways. Coordinated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Stream Quality Monitoring Program offers students, conservation group members and other nature enthusiasts opportunities for up-close enjoyment of nature while they monitor stream quality along 632 miles of Ohio's 18 designated state scenic rivers.
"Information gathered by Stream Quality Monitoring volunteers each year is a vital contribution in our effort to track the most up-to-date data on the health of Ohio's scenic river systems," said Stu Lewis, assistant chief of ODNR's Division of Natural Areas & Preserves. "Our volunteers enjoy an excellent hands-on, outdoor experience as they learn a deeper appreciation for the environmental benefits of our rivers, streams and watersheds."
Equipped with fishing net, magnifying glass and thermometer, each volunteer wades into shallow, "riffled" areas of a waterway looking for macroinvertebrates such as insects, crayfish, mussels, snails and worms. These species are found by placing the net at the bottom of the river, then kicking stones to loosen organisms and collect them in the net.
According to Lewis, data collected through the program are recorded in Ohio's Scenic River Program's computer database and shared with the Ohio EPA for inclusion in the federally required water quality report. Ohio was the first state in the nation to use data collected by volunteers as part of an official state water quality summary.
Ohio's Stream Quality Monitoring Program began in 1980 along the Stillwater River north of Dayton. Since that time, more than 50,000 Ohioans have participated in the program, including 5,325 volunteers in 1996. Persons interested in the program should contact ODNR's Division of Natural Areas & Preserves at (614) 265-6453.
ODNR has officially designated 18 state scenic river segments in 62 Ohio counties. Included are portions of the Big and Little Darby Creeks, Chagrin River, Cuyahoga River, Grand River, Little Beaver Creek, Little Miami River, Maumee River, Olentangy River, Sandusky River and the Stillwater River/Greenville Creek system.
Portions of the Big and Little Darby Creeks, Little Miami River and Little Beaver Creek have also been designated as components of the National Scenic Rivers program.
EDITORS NOTE: A 1996 STREAM QUALITY MONITORING SUMMARY FOR EACH OF OHIO'S 18 SCENIC RIVERS IS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE OHIO DIVISION OF NATURAL AREAS & PRESERVES BY CALLING (614) 265-6453.
For further information contact Stu Lewis or John Kopec, Division of Natural Areas & Preserves, (614) 265-6453, or Jim Lynch, ODNR Media Relations, (614) 265-6886.