Beginning in 2007 several streams in the northern and central parts of Clinton County have been regularly monitored by members of the Clinton Streamkeepers — Anderson Fork, Cowan Creek, Todd’s Fork and Lytle Creek.
The health of these streams was assessed using the Ohio Department of Natural Resources scenic river methodology, a procedure based on macroinvertebrates, which are small organisms without backbones such as aquatic insects, worms, snails and clams. The fish community depends on these organisms for food.
In addition, oxygen levels, pH and water clarity were measured.
With one exception, streams in this part of the county were found to be in good to excellent condition:
Water quality in Anderson Fork continues to be in the good to excellent range with the area in the US 68 area showing slight declines to the upper good range while the areas downstream remain excellent.
Todd’s Fork, which historically has been our best major stream, has shown the greatest decline in water quality. It has yet to recover from a toxic chemical dump in the spring of 2018 which caused a massive fish kill.
Until this event, from 2007 through 2017 the average results showed Todd’s Fork to be in excellent condition. However, following the release, the water quality declined to fair in 2018 and has improved somewhat in 2019.
Due to lack of access to our sampling station, we were unable to sample Cowan Creek this year. In previous years water quality in this stream was found to be good.
There was significant improvement in the water quality of Lytle Creek within Wilmington. It was sampled in the Sugar Grove Cemetery a total of 12 times between 2008 and 2019. All but one of the readings prior to 2014 were in the poor range.
In fact the index numbers here were less than half as good as the next lowest stream sampled. The water looked good, smelled good and generally had plenty of oxygen, but very few living things were found. Conditions like these often indicate the presence of toxic materials in the stream. Between 2014 and early summer 2018 readings were generally in the fair range.
However, in late summer 2018 and summer 2019, Lytle Creek attained good status. We hope to see continued improvement in the future.
In 2015 a sampling station was added where Lytle Creek passes under Clarksville Road. The results here were somewhat encouraging. The stream water quality from 2015 to 2018 was found to be good.
In 2019 the water quality was rated as excellent. This is another sign Lytle Creek water quality continues to improve.
Clinton Streamkeepers is an organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of Clinton County waterways through monitoring and educational projects. In addition, it has begun funding grants to improve water quality in the Little Miami watershed.
People interested in more information are invited to call president Don Spurling at 937-382-5497