Big Darby Subwatershed Plans

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Big Darby Subwatershed Plans


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How to Address Water Quality Concerns
The Subwatershed Plans
The Layout
How to view your subwatershed plan

How to Address Water Quality Concerns

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) document addresses water quality concerns according to the clean water act and asks the community to help address them.  Landowners and residents have a few additional concerns such as flooding, drainage and log jams.  The goal of the Darby Community based watershed plan is to give the landowners and residents the information that we need to implement a plan to protect their watershed in ways that make sense to our community.

The Subwatershed plans

The Darby Watershed is one of the most tested and observed watersheds in Ohio because of its water quality; in turn it supports a wide range of bugs, fish and mussels, some of which are endangered and threatened.

  The Darby Watershed consists of 555.6 square miles, 74%  is used for agriculture and 22% is wooded land.  The watercourses which make up the watershed include the main stems of Big and Little Darby Creeks as well as the tributary streams and channels that contribute water to the main stems. 

  Agricultural land is the primary reason that the Darby is in good health and can support a wide variety of bugs, fish and mussels.  Due to the agricultural nature of this watershed, development pressures have been minimal and the villages and cities continue to invest in upgrades to their wastewater treatment plants.  A perfect score for fish was recorded in the Little Darby Creek in 1985 and 1987, south of the West Jefferson wastewater treatment plant.  A perfect score has only occurred at a handful of sites throughout Ohio . 

  In 2001, the Darby Joint Board and many volunteers within the watershed began the long and complicated process of developing a community based watershed plan. The watershed plan reflects the belief that the people who live in the watershed are the ones who should decide how the watershed is to be managed.  With this in mind, the Joint Board of Supervisors elected to construct the Darby document different from other watershed plans.

  Many watershed plans become cumbersome to read and understand.  The Board wanted to make the Darby document easy to understand and use.  Therefore, the watershed was divided into 17 subwatersheds by using Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) to create maps.   Each subwatershed is in its own section and all have the same format so that you can “pull out” only the areas that are of interest.

  Since Franklin County ’s 15% of the watershed has development issues that are totally different from the remaining watershed, Franklin County elected to create their own document through the Darby Accord and the Hellbranch Forum.  Questions regarding the Franklin County documents may be addressed to:

  The Hellbranch Forum at Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or for information about the Darby Accord contact Reza Reyazi of the City of Columbus at (614) 645-3898.

  The 16 agricultural subwatershed documents indicate what is in that subwatershed:  historical testing data; items that may be of concern; sites the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) decided were in full, partial or non attainment and the existing government programs and local agencies that are available to that subwatershed. 

During the summer of 2001-2002, OEPA tested 127 sites.  Of these sites, 84 (66%) were in full attainment, 31 (24%) were in partial attainment, and only 12 (9%) were found to be in non attainment.  Attainment is a term describing the degree to which environmental indicators (fish, bugs, and habitat) are either above or below criteria specified by the Ohio Water Quality Standards (WQS).   

  The OEPA considers every watercourse to be a stream.  However, the Joint Board of Supervisors adopted a list of definitions that better describe each watercourse based on its purpose and history.  For example, the Darby Joint Board does not consider agricultural drainage channels to be streams since they were constructed to drain agricultural lands.   A list of the watercourse definitions and a map of the defined watercourses can be found in each subwatershed document.

  The Darby Joint Board is dedicated to listening to landowners/residents of the watershed.  In a landowner survey and many subwatershed public meetings, the Board asked landowners/residents about concerns regarding their subwatersheds. The most frequent comments were log jams, stream bank erosion and how each affects drainage.  

  The Darby Joint Board believes in order for subwatershed plans to function properly; input must come from the landowners. Therefore all sections of the document are meant to be updated on a continual basis as landowners/residents tell us where erosion, log jams, flooding etc. are occurring.  With this information each subwatershed, will have input on what should be done and who should be involved to improve these issues. 

This plan is a “living document” which means that it will adapt to the needs of landowners/residents and the watershed on a continual basis through updates as numbers, programs, etc. change.  As with agriculture, this plan is adaptable and changeable.  Agriculture is the secret of the Darby Watershed’s continued health and diversity and with the assistance of the landowners/residents of the watershed, this will continue into the future.

We encourage you to comment on this watershed plan by going to the comments section of the website or by emailing the watershed coordinator.

The layout

Each plan has the same layout 

  • Historical data shows the historical data for the subwatershed. 

  • Stream/Channel Definitions- Some tributaries of the Darby become dry so we use these definitions to delineate this.  These are also mapped.

  • Agricultural Section- land use, drainage, slope and erosion, tillage practices, crop rotation and manure and nutrient management
  • Riparian Areas- Watercourse Lengths, County maintained channels (ditches), watercourse modification, riparian vegetation and floodplain data.
  • Rural Housing Sprawl- shows the growth in the subwatershed.  Data is taken from the 2000 census of townships and cities or villages within the watershed.  New building permit data is from the local official.  Golf course information as septic system data is also included in this section.
  • Water Quality- Point sources, stream/channels that are in partial or non-attainment and recommendations for those sites.
  • Schedule of Implementation- This section tells the goals of each subwatershed.
  • Maps- There are four of five maps per subwatershed.  The first map is the location map.  The land use map is based on the 1997 hybrid land use data.  The third map uses the stream/channel definitions and the fourth map shows the riparian buffers.  The fifth map is only included for subwatersheds near Marysville.  Marysville is in the process of constructing a new Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and this map shows the areas that will be served by the new plant.

How to view your subwatershed plan

There are two ways you can view y our watershed plan.  If you know the name of your subwatershed(s), click here.  If you would prefer to select your subwatershed by selecting it on the map, click here.

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All information found on this website is for informational purposes only by the Darby Joint Board of Supervisors. All text, images, logos and information contained on this website are property of the Joint Board and they may not be used or reproduced without permission of the Joint Board. 
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Last updated: April 7, 2009.