Big and Little Darby Creeks, located twenty miles west of downtown Columbus, are the major streams in a 580-square-mile watershed encompassing portions of six counties in central Ohio. The Darby is one of the healthiest aquatic systems of its size in the Midwest and is ranked among the top five warm freshwater habitats in the region by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The Big Darby Creek main stem is approximately 88 miles long, with 245 miles of tributaries that flow from the headwaters near Marysville to its confluence with the Scioto River near Circleville. The land that is drained by the Darby system is called the Darby Watershed. Eighty-two miles of the Darbys have been named State and National Scenic Rivers. Big and Little Darby Creeks are two of the last streams in America that do not need restoration, but do need and deserve protection before they go the sad way of most of our rivers.
The drainage basin encompasses many governmental jurisdictions. Within those jurisdictions are a multiplicity of land uses. Production agriculture dominates, but manufacturing and an increasing amount of residential usage is also present with the basin. These factors, and the basin’s sheer size, dictate the use of partnerships as the primary method of protecting the Big Darby’s biodiversity, for no single agency or organization can hope to make a significant impact working alone.
Click here for more detailed maps depicting land use, flora and fauna, counties, townships, and roads in the Big Darby Creek Watershed.