Water Quality Report Cards for Olentangy River Tributaries

UPDATE: More reports can be found in our Wiki site; many of the tributaries have their own pages with water quality reports attached.

Volunteer Stream Quality Monitors from the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed have sampled 21 locations at 11 Olentangy River tributaries in the past two years.   The sites are sampled for various organisms that could be found in small streams, then assigned a score based on the number of different organisms found. The score is called the Cumulative Index Value (CIV).  The greater the diversity, or number of different types of organisms found, the higher the cumulative index score. The scores for the CIV can range from 1 to 25, where a higher number reflects a higher diversity of organisms and is indicative of better water quality and habitat in the stream.

Below are links to stream quality report cards for several tributaries within the lower Olentangy River watershed. The report cards also identify specific causes of water quality problems in the stream.

Glen Echo Run  (CIV = 7.3)

Slyh Run (CIV = 6.9)

Rush Run  (CIV = 9.5)

Water Conservation and Sustainability

Water Conservation and Sustainability

Public Meeting
Monday, February 11, 2019 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Whetstone Public Library
3909 N. High St. Columbus OH 43214

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed will host Kent Halloran, from The Ohio State University College of Engineering, to speak on the importance of water conservation. He will provide a variety of strategies and techniques to save water without spending a dime! Topics will include: gardens and xeriscaping, grey water and green roofs.

Kent Halloran serves as a water compliance engineer for OSU, where he researches water, environmental issues, and regulations. He is an instructor and lecturer with OSU’s Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering Department, speaking on topics of water use, sustainability, and pollution prevention. Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from OSU and a Master’s of Engineering in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University.

Kent is also a licensed professional engineer in the states of Ohio & Idaho, and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. He has over 30 years’ experience in the design, construction, and rehabilitation of potable water, wastewater, and stormwater facilities.

Please join us for this free public presentation hosted by the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW).

Any questions? Please feel free to contact Matt Wolf at info@olentangywatershed.org. Thank you!

Greenspace Planning for the Lower Olentangy Watershed


Greenspace Plan for the Lower Olentangy Watershed

FLOW and our project partners are working to create detailed maps of the greenspace and openspace in our watershed.  Thanks to a Columbus Foundation grant, FLOW’s greenspace project is underway.  We are creating maps that show current greenspace preservation in the Olentangy watershed. This will include conservation easements, parks, areas preserved by private landowners, and other natural spaces that have been specifically set aside for preservation.

The Olentangy River and valley is well recognized locally and beyond for its significance. While notable efforts have occurred over time in preserving it, development continues to diminish its grandness and vitality. The more comprehensive mapping funded by the Columbus Foundation will acknowledge the notable efforts of many to date, as well as indicate possibilities to further the preservation of the stream and valley. Presently there is no one data source that maps all the known natural green spaces.

FLOW’s partner organizations are Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. They will work with the general public, public jurisdictions, and environmental organizations. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) will be used for mapping known preserved green spaces, as well as lack of preservation connectivity, and potential future linkages.

Grow with the FLOW


One of the many ways we are aiming to enhance the health of the Olentangy Watershed is through campaigning for the planting of native trees! Our goal is to partner with the Olentangy Watershed community and have everyone planting and caring for trees. We hope to accomplish this by providing education, ensuring you live in the Olentangy Watershed, and offering free native trees and shrubs. To claim a FREE TREE, please go to the registration page by clicking HERE or by clicking “Grow with the FLOW” above. Registration is open through March 29th, 2019.


FLOW maintains an Urban Tree Nursery growing a variety of species for a free giveaway and planting within the Olentangy Watershed. Our next giveaway will be hosted March 30th, 2019.

Species below are growing at the Urban Nursery and are linked to ODNR’s forestry website for more information:

New Study on Fish and Habitat Quality on Olentangy River and Tributaries

Locations for fish sampling and habitat quality evaluation.

Locations sampled for the 2016 Olentangy River & Tributaries Fish & Habitat


A recent study of the Olentangy River and two tributaries in Delaware County finds the river mainstem meeting biological criteria for fish communities, but the two tributaries falling short.  The study, conducted by Mark Dilley of MAD Scientist Associates in October 2016, reports that the stream health measures for the mainstem have remained stable relative to sampling conducted in 2003 by Ohio EPA at locations upstream and downstream of the study site.

The consistent fish community scores for the mainstem site may be the result of positive water quality and habitat improvements off-setting potentially adverse effects of increasing rates of development in this region of Delaware County, according to Dilley. The positive water quality improvements Dilley identifies include the recent removal of two low-head dams in the area, riparian setbacks that were put into effect, and improved sediment and erosion control practices at construction sites.

Dilley, a professional wetland scientist and certified senior ecologist, worked with Laura Fay and Marci Bird of Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) to develop the study plan.  The sampling was conducted in early October by Dilley, Aaron Laver and Jacob Zink of MAD Scientist Associates, and Joe Bevan a FLOW volunteer.  Dilley has provided FLOW with the results and findings to help FLOW track water quality trends in the Olentangy River and its tributaries, and to better manage and protect these areas.

The study’s objective was to evaluate the current health of stream habitat within segments of the Olentangy River tributaries and mainstem. Stream health was determined by surveying the fish community using Ohio EPA sampling methodologies, and scoring the results using Ohio EPA’s Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) and Modified Index of Well-Being (MIwb; wading sites only).  The condition of the stream and riparian habitat at the sampling sites was surveyed using the metrics of the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI). The use by Dilley of the same sampling and evaluation methods used by Ohio EPA, allows for direct comparison with past sampling and future stream studies conducted by Ohio EPA.  Tables 2 and 3 in the report compare Dilley’s results with Ohio EPA’s 2003 results for nearby mainstem sites, as well as a comparison with other tributaries.  We at FLOW appreciate that this study gives us a much needed glimpse at the current conditions in the watershed.  


Results of 2016 Sampling for Fish Communities and Habitat Quality
Stream Name River Mile QHEI IBI/(Miwb)
Olentangy River

Sample Reach 1

22.9 72.25 44 (7.7)


Sample Reach 2

0.2 61.25 26


Sample Reach 3

0.0 44.25 38
* MIwb only applicable to mainstem (wading) site

An IBI score of 40 is needed to meet biological criteria for a wading stream, that is designated warm water habitat.   This table was excerpted from Table 2, 2016 Olentangy River & Tributaries Fish & Habitat Surveys,  Dilley.  


The Enemy Among Us

This summer, Ohio residents will be living among the types of mosquitos that spread Zika and West Nile viruses.
Zika has been linked to serious birth defects. It is not known whether Zika will arrive in Ohio this year, although the mosquitos that spread it are expected to be here.
West Nile often has mild or no symptoms, but it can cause neurological damage in some individuals.
You can conduct your war against these unwelcome attackers by denying them the standing water they need to reproduce. This is by far the most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitos.

Rain Barrels

If you live in the City of Columbus and got a rain barrel through Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District’s GreenSpot program, you can get free rain barrel water treatment through Columbus. You should be contacted within a few weeks and offered 180-day treatment for your rain barrel. If you are not contacted, you can check your eligibility by calling 614-645-6153 or emailing rainbarrel@columbus.gov.
You can also buy Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits, or similar products that will interrupt the mosquito life cycle. These are harmless naturally-occurring bacteria.
In the absence of these controls, use up the water in your rain barrel at least once a week. It takes 7-10 days for the eggs to become mature mosquitos.

Backyard Ponds
You have a couple of options for your pond:
• Koi are too large to eat mosquito larvae, but goldfish and guppies will do the job and will get along well with your other fish.
• Mosquitos require shallow or still water, so consider adding a waterfall or fountain.
• Use Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits, or similar products.
Other Containers
Empty the following at least once a week:
• birdbaths
• vases
• pet water bowls
• flowerpot saucers
• discarded tires
• buckets
• pool covers
• birdbaths
• trash cans