Category Archives: Olentangy Study Project

1999 Olentangy Document

-A biological and water quality survey, or “biosurvey”, is an interdisciplinary monitoring effort coordinated on a waterbody specific or watershed scale.

-Ohio EPA employs biological, chemical, and physical monitoring and assessment techniques in biosurveys in order to meet three major objectives: 1) determine the extent to which use designations assigned in the Ohio Water Quality Standards (WQS) are either attained or not attained; 2) determine if use designations assigned to a given water body are appropriate and attainable; and 3) determine if any changes in key ambient biological, chemical, or physical indicators have taken place over time, particularly before and after the implementation of point source pollution controls or best management practices.

-. The six “levels” of indicators include: 1) actions taken by regulatory agencies (permitting, enforcement, grants); 2) responses by the regulated community (treatment works, pollution prevention); 3) changes in discharged quantities (pollutant loadings); 4) changes in ambient conditions (water quality, habitat); 5) changes in uptake and/or assimilation (tissue contamination, bio markers, wasteload allocation); and, 6) changes in health, ecology, or other effects (ecological condition, pathogens).

-Stressor indicators generally include activities which have the potential to degrade the aquatic environment such as pollutant discharges (permitted and unpermitted), land use effects, and habitat modifications. Exposure indicators are those which measure the effects of stressors and can include whole effluent toxicity tests, tissue, residues, and biomarkers, each of which provides evidence of biological exposure to a stressor or bioaccumulative agent. Response indicators are generally composite measures of the cumulative effects of stress and exposure and include the more direct measures of community and population response that are represented here by the biological indices which comprise Ohio’s biological criteria. Other response indicators could include target assemblages, i.e., rare, threatened, endangered, special status, and declining species or bacterial levels which serve as surrogates for the recreational uses.

-The 1999 Olentangy River study area included a mainstem reach beginning at RM 32.0, upstream from the City of Delaware and extending downstream to the mouth in Columbus and sites on nine tributaries. In all, 30 biological and chemical sample stations were visited. Effluent samples were also collected at the Delaware WWTP and the Olentangy Environmental Control Center. Based on the performance of biological communities with respect to ecoregional biocriteria, 23.8 miles of the mainstem of the Olentangy River were considered to be in FULL attainment of the applicable aquatic life use designation. PARTIAL attainment was documented for 7.9 miles of stream and only 0.3 miles of NON attainment was documented. This represents more than twice as many miles of FULL attainment versus results similar studies yeilded in 1988 and 1989. The improvement can be largely attributed to improvements effluent quality at the Delaware WWTP. The Olentangy River had generally good water quality, except for a few minor violations of bacterial water quality standards and pesticides. Low concentrations of pesticides were detected in every sample obtained from the Olentangy River mainstem. Mean dissolved oxygen concentrations were above 6 mg/l and nutrient concentrations, though often elevated , did not seem to be impacting the free-flowing portions of the stream. Upstream from the metropolitan Columbus area, both fish and macroinvertebrate communities were in good to exceptional condition. Among the fish species collected were two classified as endangered, threatened, or special status – river redhorse and bluebreast darter (Ohio DNR 1997).

-A number of the tributary streams evaluated in this study were originally designated for aquatic life use in the 1978 and 1985 Ohio WQS (Table 2); others were previously undesignated. The current biological assessment methods and numerical criteria did not exist then. This study, as an objective and robust use evaluation, is precedent setting in comparison to the 1978 and 1985 designations Several subbasin streams have been evaluated for the first time using a standardized biological approach as part of this study. Ohio EPA is obligated by a 1981 public notice to review and evaluate all aquatic life use designations outside of the WWH use prior to basing any permitting actions on the existing, unverified use designations. Thus, some of the following aquatic life use recommendations constitute a fulfillment of that obligation.

-The current Industrial and Agricultural Water Supply use designations on the Olentangy River and currently designated tributaries should remain in place. An Industrial Water Supply use is recommenced for the three undesignated tributaries, Linworth Run, Bill Moose Run), and Kempton Run. These three tributaries flow through urban areas negating the need for the Agricultural Water Supply use. The only tributary where pool depths exceeded one meter was Adena Brook. As such, the current Primary Contact Recreation use designation is appropriate. The Secondary Contact Recreation use sufficient to protect persons wading in the stream is recommended for the remaining sampled tributaries including the undesignated streams.

-A complete reevaluation of the Olentangy River study area should be conducted in the year 2003. The reassessment is needed considering the rate of land use and population changes within the watershed and the TMDL report that is pending in 2005. Priority should be placed on revisiting segments which are identified as impaired or threatened in this report.

-The Olentangy River originates in Crawford County and flows south across Marion, Delaware and Franklin counties to its confluence with the Scioto River near downtown Columbus. The 1999 study area included the mainstem and selected tributaries between the United States Corps of Engineers dam at Delaware Reservoir and the confluence with the Scioto River. The elevation at the dam spillway is 884 feet. Elevation at the confluence is 702 feet. The average fall per mile for the study area is 5.6 feet per mile. The basin drains one hundred forty six square miles from the Delaware Dam south to the confluence.

-Traveling upstream in the study area from Franklin County into Delaware County, nonpoint sources transition from typically urban impervious surface runoffs and aged combined sewer systems to runoff from a rapidly developing, yet still predominantly rural – agricultural landscape.

-Fish were sampled once or twice at each site using pulsed DC electrofishing methods. Discussion of the fish community assessment methodology used in this report is contained in Biological Criteria for the Protection of Aquatic Life: Volume III, Standardized Biological Field Sampling and Laboratory Methods for Assessing Fish and Macroinvertebrate Communities (Ohio EPA 1989b).

-Delaware WWTP influent is comprised of 95.2% sewage and 4.8% industrial wastewater. Significant industrial contributors include Atofina North America (7000 gallons/day), Grady Hospital, and Willamette Industries (30,000 gallons/day).

-The OECC WWTP influent is comprised of nearly 100% conventional sewage with an industrial input of less than 1%. The two categorical industries within the system (Abrasive Tech and Tracewell) together contribute only 4000 gallons/day (0.004 MGD) of pretreated wastewater.

-A review of Water Pollution, Fish Kill and Stream Litter Investigation Reports from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife indicated that only six fish kills were reported in the Olentangy River basin between 1990-1999 (Table 10). It should be noted that the majority of tributaries were predominated by pioneering and tolerant species which suggests that degraded habitat and water quality of the streams was limiting the establishment of typical warmwater fish assemblages.

-Mean concentrations of dissolved oxygen remained above 6 mg/l along the entire length of the Olentangy River peaking at RM 22.30 (Figure 9). Dissolved oxygen values were especially satisfactory downstream from the two major wastewater treatment plants.

-Delaware Run is designated as WWH, AWS, and IWS in the Ohio Water Quality Standards. Delaware Run is approximately 6 miles in length draining nearly 11 square miles in Delaware County and within the Delaware city limits. Water quality data was collected 6 times at 2 sites in the drainage (RM 0.20 and RM 1.20). In spite of the drought, Delaware Run exhibited continuous flow at both sites. At some locations along the creek sulfurous groundwater seeps occurred leaving a whitish precipitate combined with a rotten egg odor. These did not seem to impact the creek negatively.

-Datasonde results obtained immediately downstream from the Delaware WWTP discharge at RM 24.50 from July 27-29, 1999 show a normal diurnal fluctuation in dissolved oxygen and dissolved oxygen saturation. A “normal” diurnal fluctuation in instream dissolved oxygen shows lower concentrations and saturation in the early morning hours after plants have been respiring overnight followed by gradual increases as it gets light and photosynthesis begins to increase with a peak in the late afternoon or early evening followed by a decrease at dusk. Little supersaturation was observed. No violations of them inimum warmwater habitat criteria for dissolved oxygen within the river were noted and the WWTP does not appear to negatively impact dissolved oxygen levels even up to 5 miles further downstream at RM 19.40.

-Sediment sampling protocols were used based on the Manual of Ohio EPA Surveillance Methods and Quality Assurance Practices (Ohio EPA 1989) and samples were collected, preserved, and analyzed for a variety of parameters including metals, base neutral and acid extractable compounds, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and nutrients. See Appendix A for a complete listing of the analytical results for all waterbodies studied.

-Most stations were found to contain a complement of positive habitat features and appeared capable of supporting, at a minimum, WWH assemblages. However, habitat quality was not uniform throughout the Olentangy River study area. Macrohabitat conditions characterized as very good to exceptional were consistently observed within the upper and middle segments, between RM 32.0 (downstream from the Delaware Reservoir) and RM 15.0 (SR 750). The sites contained within this reach typically possessed a predominance of positive features that included alternating series of riffle-run-pool complexes, abundant coarse substrates, a diversity of instream cover types, a channel morphology in a natural or recovered state, and a well established wooded riparian corridor.

-Macroinvertebrate samplings was conducted at eighteen locations on the Olentangy River from downstream from Delaware Dam (RM 32.0) to the confluence with the Scioto River. Fifteen of 16 artificial substrate sets were collected on the mainstem. Qualitative sampling was conducted at all mainstem locations. Sampling of the Delaware WWTP and Olentangy Environmental Control Center mix zones were sampled twice using the qualitative method.

-Delaware Run is a largely urbanized watershed. Both sampling locations supported poor quality macroinvertebrate communities. Moderately intolerant snails of the genus Elimia were present in moderate density. Most telling was the QCTV score of 27.6 at both sites which is well below the range of values expected for streams that attain a WWH use. It appeared that toxicity and/or excessive organinc enrichment were impacting the stream. The odor of sewage and chlorine was evident at RM 0.2. Potential sources of impact include breaks in the buried sewer lines that lie adjacent to the stream and urban runoff.

-Nine streams comprise the principal drainage network of the lower Olentangy River: Adena Brook, Turkey Run, Rush Run, Delaware Run, Kempton Creek, Linworth Run, Horseshoe Run, Lewis Center tributary, and Bill Moose Run. Samples of the resident fish community from these mainstem tributaries were collected at 11 stations. Adena Brook and Delaware Run were each evaluated at two sampling sites. The remaining tributaries were evaluated at one location, typically less than a mile upstream from the point at which the stream(s) joins the Olentangy River. As all of the sampling sites distributed among these tributaries possessed a drainage area < 20 square miles, the IBI was the only applicable measure of fish community performance (Ohio EPA 1989).

-In summary, environmental conditions of the upper and middle segments of lower Olentangy River study area were significantly improved in 1999. However, modest and localized impairment was indicated at RM 19.4, within the upper limits of the EWH segment. As this station was in full attainment of the EWH biocriterion in 1989, the departure is noteworthy. The cause for the decline is not clear at this time, but may have been related to the drought experienced during the summer of 1999. Future monitoring of this transitional area will be required to determine if the modest impact observed in 1999 was temporal in nature or indicative of a recently derived, ongoing stress.

-The Area of Degradation Value (ADV) portrays the length and amount of departure from a biocriterion by an aquatic community. It reflects the distance that the biological index (IBI, MIWB, or ICI) moves longitudinally from the applicable biocriterion or from an upstream measurement of performance. A positive ADV is represented by the area above the biocriterion (or upstream level) when the results for each index are plotted against river mile. Conversely, a negative ADV represents the more typical degradation (Figure 2).The results are also expressed as ADV/mile to normalize comparisons between segments and other streams and rivers. ADV statistics reported in Table 24 reflect positive and negative influences on the aquatic communities because a given reach can have segments which exceed and which do not attain biocriteria. ADV statistics for 1999 of comparable stream reaches demonstrated moderate improvement for indices which had negative statistics in 1988 or 1989.

 

1994 Olentangy Article

-As part of the five-year basin approach for the issuance of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, ambient biological, water column chemical, sediment, and bioassay sampling was conducted in the upper Olentangy River mainstem and at sites in three selected tributaries from June to October 1994. This study area included a 46.8 mile reach of theOlentangy River from State Route (SR) 97, above Galion, downstream to Donithen Rd., north of Waldo, and sites on Mud Run, Flat Run, and Grave Creek. Additionally, two sets of water column chemical samples were collected in North Shumaker and Zimmerman Ditches during the study period and this data is also reported.

-Conventional nutrient data from the Shearer Rd. site reflected continuing assimilation of total phosphorus and nitrate-N from the Galion WWTP through this reach. One violation of the WWH standard for minimum dissolved oxygen (D.O.) concentration, an exceedence of the chronic aquatic criteria (CAC) for total cadmium (T-Cd), and an exceedence of the Primary Contact Recreation (PCR) criterion for fecal coliforms were all recorded at this site.

-Zimmerman Ditch drains the unsewered Westmore Subdivision of Galion. All 1994 water column chemistry samples collected in Zimmerman Ditch violated the minimum D.O. standard, exceeded the water quality acute aquatic criteria (AAC) for ammonia-N (CAC in one sample), and contained elevated fecal coliform levels. The fair biological performance at Shearer Rd. appeared most closely associated with the degradation found in Zimmerman Ditch. Biological communities actually performed better at this site in 1979 than in 1994.

-The reach from Charles St.(RM 88.9) to SR 598 (RM 87.1) was affected by residential and industrial development in Galion. It was heavily modified and channelized in some locations. This reach received effluents from approximately 20 homes that were not connected to the Galion WWTP.

-Additionally, residual toxic sediments from now defunct plating and railroad industries may have exerted chronic effects through this stretch.

-A second area of PARTIAL attainment was documented near Caledonia (SR 309, RM 59.9 ).

Although the fish community exhibited exceptional performance upstream of the state route bridge close to the village, the macroinvertebrate community downstream of the bridge reflected fair performance.

 

-Excluding these reaches of subpar performance, the upper Olentangy River displayed significant improvements since the 1979 and 1986 surveys.

-The reach above Galion (RMs 91.1 to 89.2) fully attained, albeit marginally, the applicable WWH

biocriteria. However, ambient water column chemistry data revealed low D.O. and high ammonia-N levels which likely affected overall biological community performance.

 

-The Galion WWTP discharges directly to the Olentangy River at RM 86.00 with a design flow capacity of 2.7 MGD (million gallons per day). Nutrient loading from the WWTP was evident in downstream water column chemical samples. However, oxygen demanding wastes appeared to be rapidly assimilated and adequate dissolved oxygen levels were generally maintained.

-PARTIAL attainment of WWH ecoregional expectations was determined for Mud Run. A poor Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) score and the functional nature of the fish community was evidence of severe habitat impairment and accompanying nutrient enrichment at this site. The marginally good macroinvertebrate assemblage was also indicative of the serious habitat limitations.

-The biological performance in Flat Run was in FULL attainment of the ecoregional WWH biocriteria. Both fish and macroinvertebrate communities exhibited exceptional quality.

-The biological communities in Grave Creek were considered to be in PARTIAL attainment of the WWH aquatic life use designation. Nutrient enrichment primarily from the Richland Rd. WWTP appeared to limit biological performance as instream habitat was considered adequate to support biological assemblages consistent with ecoregional expectations for the WWH use designation.

-The Richland Rd. WWTP (Marion Co. Commissioners Sewer District #7 WWTP) discharges to Grave Creek at RM 3.16 which enters the Olentangy River at RM 45.35. Built in 1973 with a design flow capacity of 0.6 MGD, the plant has sludge treatment with contact stabilization and chlorination capabilities and is currently being upgraded.

-Ohio EPA is under obligation by a 1981 public notice to review and evaluate all aquatic life use designations outside of the WWH use prior to basing any permitting actions on the existing, unverified use designations.

-The current Warmwater Habitat aquatic life use designations for the upper Olentangy, Flat Run, and Grave Creek should be maintained.

-Mud Run is maintained as an agricultural drainage way through a joint Crawford-Marion County petition ditch project.

-Zimmerman Ditch is the principal waterway that drains the Westmore subdivision and surrounding agricultural area. It is presently not designated for aquatic life use.

-North Shumaker is maintained primarily as a surface water drain for roads and residential housing in Galion.

-Currently, the upper Olentangy River, Mud Run, Flat Run, and Grave Creek are designated for Primary Contact Recreational (PCR), and Agricultural and Industrial Water Supply uses.

-A complete reevaluation of the upper Olentangy River study area should be conducted in 1999 or 2004 as provided in the Five-Year Basin Approach to Monitoring and NPDES Permit Reissuance.

-The property that was formerly the site of Galion Plating Corp. should be added to the Ohio EPA,

Division of Emergency and Remedial Response (DERR) Master Sites List (MSL) in order to facilitate the cleanup of hazardous waste located there. Similar consideration should be given to the property of the former Southside Plating Corp.

 

-The upper Olentangy River study area included a 211 square mile watershed. Sampling occurred at a headwater site (RM 91.1) near Blooming Grove downstream to (RM 44.3) near Waldo (Figure 1). This 47.8 mile reach encompassed nearly one half of the entire Olentangy River basin (Ohio DNR 1985). Portions of southeastern Crawford, northwestern Morrow, and eastern Marion Counties are drained by the study area. Average gradient for the study reach was 5.7 ft./mi. compared to 5.5 ft./mi. for the entire basin (Ohio DNR 1960). Several tributaries were also evaluated including: North Shumaker, Zimmerman, and Shumaker Ditches, Rocky Fork, Mud, Bee, Thorn, and Flat Runs, and Grave Creek.

-Physical habitat was evaluated using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) developed by the Ohio EPA for streams and rivers in Ohio (Rankin 1989, 1995). Various attributes of the habitat are scored based on the overall importance of each to the maintenance of viable, diverse, and functional aquatic faunas. The type(s) and quality of substrates, amount and quality of instream cover, channel morphology, extent and quality of riparian vegetation, pool, run, and riffle development and quality, and gradient are some of the metrics used to determine the QHEI score which generally ranges from 20 to 100. The QHEI is used to evaluate the characteristics of a stream segment, as opposed to the characteristics of a single sampling site.

-Macroinvertebrates were sampled quantitatively using multiple-plate, artificial substrate samplers (modified Hester/Dendy) in conjunction with a qualitative assessment of the available natural substrates. During the present study, macroinvertebrates collected from the natural substrates were also evaluated using an assessment tool currently in the developmental phase.

-Fish were sampled twice at each site using pulsed DC electrofishing wading methods.

-An Area of Degradation Value (ADV; Rankin and Yoder 1991; Yoder and Rankin 1995) was calculated for the study area based on the longitudinal performance of the biological community indices.

-A summary of NPDES permit final effluent discharge limit violations was completed from January to December 1994 (Table 5). Data evaluated are results of self monitoring analyses presented in monthly operating reports submitted to Ohio EPA. Several parameters have daily maximum (7 day) concentration and loading limits and monthly average (30 day) concentration and loading limits and are monitored three times weekly, including: TSS, NH3-N, and cBOD5. A minimum limit exists for D.O., a maximum limit for total residual chlorine (TRC) and oil and grease, and both minimum and maximum limits for pH. D.O., pH, and TRC are monitored daily, while oil and grease is monitored once weekly. Limits for metals and free cyanide include daily maximum concentration and loading. These parameters are monitored once monthly.

-The most common permit violation was for TSS. This typically occurred during high flow events when retention time in the tertiary lagoons was insufficient. The maximum pH violations in September resulted from the discharge of lime sludge from the water treatment plant. Sources of metals violations are being investigated by the City of Galion, but were likely due to slugs from pretreatment facilities.

-DSW/1995-12-4

1994 Upper Olentangy River TSD

January 31, 1996

drying bed capacity.

On July 23, 1993, Director’s Final Findings and Orders were issued by Ohio EPA containing a

compliance schedule and interim permit limits for a plant upgrade. Improvements to the collection

and treatment facilities, including upgrading the WWTP to an Orbal oxidation ditch system and

expanding the plant design capacity to 1.75 MGD, were scheduled for completion in July 1995.

An evaluation of the Richland Rd. WWTP final effluent self-monitoring records, contained in the

Ohio EPA LEAPS database system, was conducted to determine trends in annual pollutant

loadings. Pollutants which were evaluated included; BOD

5

, TSS, NH

3

-N, NO

3

-N, and T-

phosphorus (Figure 4). Loadings of these pollutants exhibited steady or increasing trends. The

decline in BOD loadings portrayed in Figure 4 was primarily due to the change in monitoring

requirements from BOD

5

to cBOD

5

. The increasing trend in loadings of all pollutants was due to

the inadequate treatment provided by the outdated contact stabilization system and hydraulic

overloading. Pollutant loadings should decline when the plant upgrade is completed.

A summary of NPDES permit final effluent discharge limit violations was completed from January

to December 1994 (Table 5). Data evaluated were results of self-monitoring analyses presented in monthly operating reports submitted to Ohio EPA. Interim permit limits include daily maximum (7-

day) and monthly average (30-day) concentration limits for TSS, cBOD

5, and fecal coliform. A minimum limit exists for D.O., a maximum limit for total residual chlorine (TRC), and both minimum and maximum limits for pH. Fecal coliforms (May 1-Oct. 31) and TSS are monitored twice weekly, cBOD5 once weekly, and D.O., pH, and TRC daily. Frequent violations of these interim limits were documented due to the ongoing construction at the WWTP during 1994.

 

-Several villages and subdivisions in the Olentangy River study area have no centralized wastewater collection or treatment facilities. Residential and commercial establishments in these areas are served primarily by septic tanks, aeration systems, or sub-surface sand filters. These types of sanitary wastewater treatment systems typically have “off-lot” discharges, especially when shallow bedrock, poorly drained soils, or small lot sizes do not allow for the installation of leach fields. These off-lot discharges are normally received by a stormwater sewer system which discharges to a nearby stream.

-The Ohio EPA, Division of Hazardous Waste Management (DHWM) is responsible for the implementation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The DHWM issues hazardous waste facility permits to entities that treat, store, and dispose (TSDFs) of hazardous waste. They conduct inspections at these facilities and initiate enforcement action against those that are in significant non-compliance. There were no permitted TSDFs in the upper Olentangy River study area. The DHWM is also responsible for inspecting all known (notifiers) and suspected (non-notifiers) facilities that generate hazardous waste and for investigating complaints of improperly managed hazardous waste sites to ensure compliance with regulations. Several facilities that generated or stored hazardous wastes are located in the Olentangy River study area. These facilities may currently have significant impacts on the chemical quality of sediments and surface water in the Olentangy River or have had historical impacts which have persisted to the current study.

-An evaluation of pollutant spills reported to the Ohio EPA, Division of Emergency and Remedial Response (DERR) Release Reporting System (RRS) was conducted to estimate the impact of these occurrences on the chemical quality of sediments and surface water and to biota in the Olentangy River study area.

-Water column chemical sampling stations were selected to provide information about ambient water quality and to assess impacts from point and non-point pollution sources.

-The most upstream sampling station (SR 97, RM 90.97) was intended to evaluate ambient water quality, nonpoint source pollution influences and impacts from unsewered areas. Four violations of the minimum D.O. criterion and one violation of the average D.O. criterion were documented here. The mean D.O. concentration (3.7 mg/l) was the lowest in the study area, while the mean concentrations of BOD5 (2.2 mg/l) and NH3-N (0.21 mg/l) were the highest in the study area. Continuous D.O. monitoring indicated a nutrient enrichment impact, with the lower and upper quartiles ranging from 4.60 mg/l to 8.88 mg/l (Note: this range contained 50% of the data points). The total suspended solids (TSS) mean concentration (24 mg/l) was the second highest in the study area, inferring excess soil erosion. Unsewered areas, including the Village of Blooming Grove and southeastern Polk Township and agricultural land use encroachment were considered to be the most likely factors influencing these values.

-Pollutants in sediment create the potential for environmental impact even where water column pollutant levels are below established criteria. Some pollutants have toxic impacts on aquatic life and may pose a threat to human health. Five sites were sampled in the upper Olentangy River to evaluate chemical sediment quality.

-Fish tissue was submitted for chemical analysis from three locations in the upper Olentangy River. Three white sucker whole body and two game fish skin on fillet composite samples were evaluated for selected metal, pesticide and PCB contamination (Table A-8). All detected concentrations were below US FDA Action Levels. A slightly elevated concentration of total PCB’s (62μg/kg) was present in a white sucker sample from Shearer Rd. (RM 79.66). Mercury was detected in rock bass fillets (0.172μg/g) from SR 95 (RM 54.8). Other concentrations were below detection limits or not elevated.

-The studied reach of the upper Olentangy River was a largely natural cobble, gravel dominated stream in a 157 square miles watershed with an average gradient of 5.5 ft./mi. The stream reach upstream from the Galion WWTP through most of Galion was channelized. Moderate and heavy amounts of silt created increased substrate embeddedness through much of the study area.

-Quantitative and qualitative data were collected at eight upper Olentangy River mainstem stations and a mixing zone between RM 90.7 (SR 97, upstream from Galion) and RM 59.8 (SR 309, downstream from Caledonia). Qualitative data only was collected at RM 54.8 (SR 95, downstream from Claridon) and at single sites on Mud Run, Flat Run, and Grave Creek (Table 13). Current velocities over the quantitative artificial substrate samplers when set on July 11-12, 1994, ranged from 0.40 ft.·sec-1 to 1.4 ft.·sec-1; upon retrieval on August 22-23, 1994, velocities ranged from 0.04 ft.·sec-1to 0.80 ft.·sec-1.

-Forty two species and two hybrid types of fish (26,816 individuals) were collected in the upper Olentangy River, July-October 1994. Sampling occurred twice at 11 sites and a mixing zone between RM 91.1 (SR 97, upstream from Galion) and RM 54.6 (SR 95, downstream from Claridon).

-Historical data was only available for the study area in the vicinity of the City of Galion.

Therefore, this evaluation is limited to that area. The significant change influencing the character of chemical water quality which occurred between 1979 to 1994 was the upgrade completed at the Galion WWTP in October 1984. The WWTP switched from a contact stabilization system to an advanced treatment system. The City of Galion also implemented an industrial pretreatment program in January 1985. Vast improvements in the sanitary sewer collection system occurred in approximately 1973, including the elimination of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and the extension of collection lines to service a larger portion of the municipal area. A tertiary lagoon was also constructed at that time and the final effluent discharge was relocated from RM 86.2 to its present location at RM 86.0.

 

-Prior monitoring of the upper Olentangy River macroinvertebrate community was conducted in 1979 and 1986. These qualitative surveys evaluated the reach through Galion extending downstream from the Galion WWTP. Eight sites were sampled between RMs 89.3 and 79.5 in 1979 and six sites between RMs 89.3 and 84.1 in 1986. The 1994 survey repeated the previous efforts but used both qualitative and quantitative data from 10 sites and a mixing zone sample (RMs 90.8-54.8). A comparison of data from these surveys indicated the macroinvertebrate community has improved significantly over this 15 year time span.

-Fish community data were collected from the upper Olentangy River mainstem in 1979 and 1986. Both previous surveys focused on the reach through Galion extending downstream of the Galion WWTP. The 1979 effort included seven sites between RM 89.3 and RM 81.7. The 1986 effort comprised four sites between RM 86.3 and RM 84.5. The 1994 survey, from RM 91.1 to RM 54.6, duplicated both previous studies with 11 sites and a mixing zone sample. Longitudinal comparison of recent and past fish community data indicated substantial improvement has occurred in the River over this 15 year period.

First 2010 Olentangy Article

-A near three mile section of the Olentangy River within the city limits of Delaware, Ohio, was assessed during 2005 and 2009, evaluating fish and macroinvertebrate biological communities and the quality of the physical habitat supporting those communities. This study was undertaken to assess conditions in the Olentangy River upstream, within, and downstream from three low head dam impoundments anticipated for removal. Two of the dams were subsequently removed in late 2005 (River St.) and early 2008 (Central Ave.) with the one remaining dam at Panhandle Rd. scheduled for removal in 2010.

-Removal of the Central Avenue dam in June 2008 and the River Street dam during the winter of 2005 has resulted in improved habitat conditions for both macroinvertebrate and fish communities. The aquatic communities reflect the improved habitat conditions with significant increases in species/taxa richness and the associated biological community index scores.

-In 2005, prior to the River Street dam removal, the fish community within its dam pool (RM 25.8) included no pollution intolerant species while in 2009, 5 pollution intolerant species (black redhorse, silver shiner, stonecat madtom, brindled madtom, and banded darter) were collected in the newly free-flowing reach. In 2009, just a little over a year after the dam was removed, five pollution intolerant species (black redhorse, silver shiner, stonecat madtom, brindled madtom, and banded darter) were collected; the total number of species collected increased from 21 in 2005 to 27 in 2009.

-Use attainment status is a term describing the degree to which environmental indicators are either above or below criteria specified by the Ohio Water Quality Standards (WQS; Ohio Administrative Code 3745-1). Assessing aquatic use attainment status involves a primary reliance on the Ohio EPA biological criteria (OAC 3745-1-07; Table 7-15). These are confined to ambient assessments and apply to rivers and streams outside of mixing zones. Numerical biological criteria are based on multimetric biological indices including the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) and modified Index of Well-Being (MIwb), indices measuring the response of the fish community, and the Invertebrate Community Index (ICI), which indicates the response of the macroinvertebrate community. Three attainment status results are possible at each sampling location – full, partial, or non-attainment. Fullattainment means that all of the applicable indices meet the biocriteria. Partial attainment means that one or more of the applicable indices fails to meet the biocriteria. Non-attainment means that none of the applicable indices meet the biocriteria or one of the organism groups reflects poor or very poor performance.

-Olentangy River aquatic habitat was evaluated using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) developed by the Ohio EPA for streams and rivers in Ohio (Rankin 1989, 1995; Ohio EPA 2006a). Various attributes of the available habitat are scored based on their overall importance to the establishment of viable, diverse aquatic faunas. Evaluations of type and quality of substrate, amount of instream cover, channel morphology, extent of riparian canopy, pool and riffle development and quality, and stream gradient are among the metrics used to evaluate the characteristics of a stream segment, not just the characteristics of a single sampling site. As such, individual sites may have much poorer physical habitat due to a localized disturbance yet still support aquatic communities closely resembling those sampled at adjacent sites with better habitat, provided water quality conditions are similar. QHEI scores from hundreds of segments around the state have indicated that values higher than 60 are generally conducive to the establishment of warm water faunas while those which score in excess of 75 often typify habitat conditions which have the ability to support exceptional faunas.

-Fish were sampled once (2005) and twice (2009) at each Olentangy River site using pulsed DC wading or boat electrofishing methods depending on physical habitat parameters for each sampling zone Fish were processed in the field which included identifying each individual to species, counting and weighing, and recording any external abnormalities.
-Macroinvertebrates were collected from artificial substrates and from the natural habitats at the Olentangy River sites in both 2005 and 2009. The artificial lsubstrate collection provided quantitative data and consisted of a composite sample of five modified Hester-Dendy multiple-plate samplers colonized for six weeks. At the time of the artificial substrate collection, a qualitative multihabitat composite sample was also collected. This sampling effort consisted of an inventory of all observed macroinvertebrate taxa from the natural habitats at each site with no attempt to quantify populations other than notations on the predominance of specific taxa or taxa groups within major macrohabitat types (e.g.,riffle, run, pool, margin).

 

 

 

Second 2010 Olentangy Article

-Waters impaired by hydromodification and habitat alteration are being restored by removing lowhead dams and restoring streams using natural channel design methods to improve physical habitat conditions as well as to improve the stream’s capacity to assimilate NPS pollutants. Such projects also substantially reduce sediment loadings to streams by stabilizing eroding streambanks and unstable stream channels.

-We also recognize that restoring impaired waters is only effective if we are also successful at protecting and maintaining Ohio’s high quality streams. We have expanded grant resources to local organizations for the acquisition of conservation easements on high quality land parcels along some of Ohio’s best streams.

-The third component of Ohio’s nonpoint source management strategy is to reduce nutrient and sediment loadings to streams from a variety of sources. We are effectively reducing agricultural NPS loadings by requiring projects that are highly targeted to small watersheds. Where problems have been specifically identified, we are making funds available from the SWIF and other sources to encourage the replacement of failing home septic systems. We have also greatly expanded financial support for improving urban stormwater management by encouraging the implementation of innovative stormwater demonstration projects in urban areas.

-The Olentangy is home to 54 species of fish, including the state threatened Bluebreast and Spotted Darters, a variety of mussel species, including the state threatened Purple Wartyback, as well as an impressive assemblage of breeding bird populations and other wildlife.

-In addition to its rich and diverse biological communities, the river also provides public drinking water supplies and recreational opportunities for many central Ohioans.

-Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water completed a Total Maximum Daily Load Study (TMDL) for the Olentangy River in 2006 in response to growing threats to the watershed from habitat alteration, hydromodification, silt & sediments and nutrients. The TMDL process included intensive surveys of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics ofthe watershed that were completed in 2005.

-Seven lowhead dam structures were located within and/or near the city of Delaware in the Olentangy River. All have been recommended for removal. Four have been removed already; the remaining structures are scheduled for demolition and removal this summer or fall. A list of these structures follows: Main Road Dam, Panhandle Road Dam, Central Avenue Dam, River Street Dam, Stratford Road Dam, US Route 23 Dam and Dennison Dam.

-Issues related to nutrients resulting from failing home sewage treatment systems were identified in both the endorsed watershed action plans as well as the approved TMDL for the Olentangy River. Owners of systems found to be failing were ordered to repair and/or replace the system.

-A third high magnitude cause of impairment identified in the Olentangy Watershed Action Plans and the approved TMDL are issues related to stormwater management. In response to recommendations within these documents, Ohio EPA implemented the revised Olentangy River Construction Stormwater permit identifying more stringent requirements for construction activities occurring within the Olentangy watershed. The permit also identifies more robust mitigation requirements for several related activities.

-Agricultural runoff from areas upstream from the city of Delaware has also been identified as a contributor to nonpoint source causes of impairment within the Olentangy River. The Scioto River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is enrolling up to 70,000 acres of vulnerable riparian corridor and marginal farmlands into 15 year conservation set asides under this program administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Olentangy River is included in the Scioto River CREP area. Nearly 20% of the acres currently enrolled in the CREP are within the Olentangy watershed.

-Additional fish monitoring was completed in autumn 2008 as part of a media event. Ohio EPA biologists at that time observed improvements in the quality of the fish species that were collected compared to baseline monitoring results prior to removal of the dam.

-Macroinvertebrate communities showed significant improvement with the removal of the Central Avenue and River Street dams.

Bivalve Article

-To date, we still do not have a set of unifying characteristics that allows us to unite taxa at the family or subfamily level. Historically these differences were first based on shell characteristics, then anatomical characteristics, and most recently molecular DNA differences. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency to use one, and only one, of these types of data at a time while ignoring the larger picture.

-Every species that is described in this book has a unique, binomial scientific name. That name is composed of genus and species names (both in italics), the author of the description, and the year in which the name was first applied to that species. In some instances, the species name is followed by a subspecies name that is also printed in italics. The author and date are surrounded by parentheses if the species name has been moved from the genus in which it was first placed by the author of the species; author and date are not enclosed in parentheses if the species remains in its original genus.

-Descendants of marine bivalves have invaded the freshwater environment several times during the past 400 million years. These were independent invasions, occurring at different times and comprising diverse groups. The result is a freshwater bivalve fauna composed of unrelated groups now found living side by side: zebra mussels, fingernail clams, freshwater mussels, Asian clams, marsh clams, etc.

-From at least the Archaic Period (ca. 8000–1500 b.c.), Native Americans employed freshwater mussels for a variety of uses: ornamental, ceremonial, and utilitarian, and as a food item. Having an iridescent nacre, or mother-of-pearl lining, mussels were valued as jewelry. Shells were carefully formed into beads and discs and were drilled for stringing. Especially cherished were pearls, which were occasionally placed in ceremonial mounds. As tools, mussel shells were used as knives, tweezers, hoes, scrapers, and bowls. Mussel shells also were charred and crushed and then added to pottery clay to increase durability.

-Unionoid bivalves, the subject of this book, are commonly called freshwater mussels, naiads, clams, or even oysters, but they are only distantly related to those predominately marine groups. Still, the reader should be aware that these animals are a group very distinct from true mussels (Mytilidae), clams (Veneridae), or oysters (Ostreidae). Their closest living relatives may be an obscure marine group (the Trigonoideans), now found only off the coast of Australia, although this group had a long and diverse fossil history.

-Natural infestations (NI) are based on wild-caught fishes parasitized with glochidia. Most studies reporting natural infestations were not continued to determine whether the glochidia metamorphose. Because glochidia will attach to almost any fish with which they come into contact, including unsuitable hosts, these associations must be viewed with caution.

-Laboratory infestations (LI) are similar to natural infestations in that fishes were parasitized (but by artificial methods), but the studies were never carried to completion i.e., metamorphosis). Again, these associations may be incorrect.

-Natural transformations (NT) are the least common evidence of a mussel-host association. In these studies, wild-caught fishes bearing glochidia were kept in the laboratory until the glochidia metamorphosed. Because glochidia may be difficult to identify to species, the determination of the juveniles is often inferred from what species co-occurred with the host. These studies may suffer from misidentified glochidia.

-Laboratory transformations (LT) are the most common type of mussel-host association studies. Hosts are infested with glochidia and kept in captivity until metamorphosis occurs. This procedure identifies potential hosts. It suffers from identifying associations that may occur in an experimental setting but never occur in nature.

-Early on it was recognized that some mussel shells changed in a predictable way within a given river reach—the Law of Stream Distribution (Ortmann, 1920). Headwater forms often are compressed and thin-shelled, with low umbos, whereas big river forms are usually inflated and thick-shelled, with prominent umbos. This gradient in characteristics occurs across taxonomic lines but is most obvious in amblemines. Watters (1994) interpreted this as an adaptation to life in flashy headwaters, where streamlining is at a premium.

-Sculpture also varies in strength but can usually be associated with habitat. Savazzi & Peiyi (1992) and Watters (1994) experimentally demonstrated that unionoid shell sculpture was used for anchoring and antiscouring. Thus, for any sculptured mussel species we should find the greatest sculpture in fast-moving water and the least in slow-moving water. This is born out by Amblema plicata,whose stream individuals are coarsely sculptured but lake specimens are nearly smooth.

-Color patterns probably represent the sequestering of metabolic byproducts in the periostracum. Freshwater mussels differ from the great majority of molluscs in that the outward shell color and pattern are not present in the shell itself but reside only in the periostracum. Stripped of periostracum, mussel shells are uniformly white. The colors and patterns in freshwater mussel shells cannot be construed as camouflage, as most mussels live their lives buried in the substrate. What portion of the shell is exposed is often covered with algae, larval insect cases, and marl. The colors are probably non-adaptive.

-Rivers have been dammed by humans for millennia, for many purposes: to run mills and hydroelectric turbines; to irrigate otherwise inarable land; to control floods; to allow navigation of waterways; and to create bodies of water for recreation. But impoundments are not the same as naturally occurring pools in a river: impoundments have a hydrology different from those of natural pools, with different flow patterns, topographies, and temperatures. These differences often result in a change in the aquatic fauna, including mussels.

-Land use practices (fig. 11), such as logging, mining, construction, farming, livestock, etc., often impact mussel populations by releasing runoff of silt, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, and other pollutants. Proximity of streams to roads may increase the amounts of salt, heavy metals, and other pollutants that enter a stream (Van Hassel et al.,1980). Mussels are smothered or poisoned, and contaminants may remain in the sediments for years, precluding recolonization. Runoff also causes changes in fish composition, perhaps removing a necessary host from a mussel population. But detrimental effects are not confined to the physical destruction of the riparian corridor. Alterations in land cover and canopy are important as well.

-Mussels caught in the dredge path are destroyed, and sediments churned into the water column may travel downstream and affect mussels outside the construction area. Mussels may be smothered by or exposed to resuspended contaminants (Engler, 1979). Dredge spoil may reenter the river through upland runoff, and contaminants may reenter through groundwater.

-The snagging of fallen trees and debris is a common practice to ostensibly prevent a river from inundating its natural floodplains. Like channelization, snagging reduces the available habitat (Marzolf, 1978). It also increases bank erosion, creates unstable substrates as the stream recovers, and generally reduces aquatic diversity. Channelization and snagging actually may increase flood heights (Belt, 1975), creating additional runoff and the need for additional remediation.

-Although effects of pesticides are species-specific, in general, sub-lethal levels of PCBs, DDT, Malathion, Rotenone, and other compounds inhibit respiratory efficiency and accumulate in the tissues. Mussels are more sensitive to pesticides than many other animals tested.

-Mussels are particularly sensitive to heavy metals (Keller & Zam, 1991), and responses may be species-specific (see the example for copper in Jacobson et al.,1993). Adult mussels may be able to survive short-term exposure through behavioral responses (Keller, 1993), but chronic exposure at lower levels may impact mussel populations

-Glochidia are very sensitive to ammonia from wastewater treatment plants (Goudraeu et al.,1993). At sub-lethal exposures adult mussels exhibit decreased respiratory efficiency (Anderson et al.,1978).

-Acidic water from mine runoff and sandy soils may eliminate mussels and preclude recolonization (Simmons & Reed, 1973; Humphrey, 1987a). Mussels may be able to survive several weeks of exposure to relatively low pH because of buffering in the blood (Mäkelä & Oikari, 1992), but chronic exposures are lethal. Low pH also interferes with the glochidia’s ability to close its shells on a host (Huebner & Pynnönen, 1992).

-Zebra and quagga mussels are not true mussels (Mytilidae), but belong to the family Dreissenidae (fig. 12). Although there are native members of this group in North America, they are mainly estuarine species. The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), is native to the Caspian and Black Sea region, and the Volga and Ural rivers. However, as canals were built westward across Europe in the 1700’s, zebra mussels followed, eventually colonizing most of Europe and even reaching the British Isles in the 1800’s. Zebra mussels probably reached North America in 1985 or 1986 in the ballast water of a cargo ship (Hebert et al.,1989). That ship had taken on freshwater in Europe for the transoceanic voyage that ended in Lake St. Clair. There it discharged its ballast water to take on cargo, releasing either larvae or juveniles of the mussels.

-In 1991, a second species of exotic dreissenid mussel was found in North America and named the quagga mussel. It now occurs in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, parts of Lake Huron, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Eventually it was identified as Dreissena bugensis Andrusov, 1897, another eastern European species (Rosenberg & Ludyanskiy,1994). Quagga mussels tolerate deeper water (to 107m) and muddier substrates than do zebra mussels (Snyder et al.,1990). Despite these slightly different environmental tolerances, the two species are often found together.

-In North America, the veneroid Asian clam Corbicula (Corbiculidae) (fig. 13) first appeared in the Columbia River in Washington in 1938, probably the result of intentional introductions by Asian immigrants to propagate an exotic foodstuff (Mills et al.,1993). By 1958, it had reached Arizona; in 1959 it was found in the Tennessee River; and by 1963 it had appeared in the Ohio River at Cincinnati (Sinclair & Isom, 1963). Today, few water bodies are free of this exotic clam. Similar introductions of other corbiculid species have taken place in other countries (Darrigan & Pastorino, 1993).

-Conservation broadly defined is the act of setting aside for the future. It is not the identification of existing populations of mussels, the preservation of those populations, or the reintroduction of organisms now extirpated, although conservation efforts might include any one of these activities. Instead, conservation is acknowledging the importance of a resource to society and then working to protect and restore that resource.

-Freshwater mussels play important roles in the ecology of the streams and lakes where they live. Not only are they among the largest of our freshwater invertebrates; they are also among the longest-lived. During their lifetimes, some of which may be as long as 40 to 50 years (for Ohio species), they serve as substrate for other organisms, remove silt and other pollutants from the water through their filtering activities, serve as food for other wildlife species, and stabilize the substrate (Vaughn & Hakenkamp, 2001). They contribute to the biodiversity of aquatic habitats by being members of that community and by the symbiotic relationships (commensal, trophic, parasitic, etc.) in which they engage.

-Generally when one speaks of the economic value of freshwater mussels, one speaks of the pearl industry or, historically, the Pearl Button Industry. These industries were (buttons), and continue to be (cultured pearl), dependent on the shells of North American freshwater mussels (Coker, 1919; DeVillez, 1991; Fassler, 1991; McGregor & Gordon, 1992). Other economic values associated with freshwater mussels include their use as water quality indicators, their use as food by humans (much more important historically than now), and their use in the shell trade industry. Naturally produced pearls have been a commodity bought and sold as well (Fassler, 1991).

-Many scientists who work with these animals share a sense of fascination with their shells. Shell collecting may be where scientists first became interested in freshwater mussels, which ultimately led to questions about the ecology, life history, anatomy, and systematics of the group.

-Habitat protection and restoration play equal roles in freshwater mussel conservation. One effective way of setting aside mussels for future generations is by setting aside land near streams. Protecting wooded stream banks and wetlands helps to preserve streams by stabilizing their banks, removing sediment and other pollutants, and controlling fluctuations in stream flow. As much as possible, habitat restoration activities should attempt to mimic as closely as possible the natural habitat conditions found in a stream before it was altered. The elimination of dams (see Joseph, 1998), the natural recovery of a channelized stream, and the return of wooded habitats adjacent to a stream all contribute to habitat restoration.

-Much of Ohio’s mussel diversity is due to Ohio’s physiography (fig. 14). To the south lies the Ohio River and to the north Lake Erie. Three physiographic provinces extend into Ohio: the Central Lowland (Huron-Erie Lake Plains and Till Plains sections), the Appalachian Plateaus (Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus and Allegheny Plateaus sections), and the Interior Low Plateau (Bluegrass Section). While the great majority of Ohio’s mussels are derived from the Ohio River fauna, a few species, such as the Eastern Pondmussel, Ligumia nasuta,are part of the Lawrentian fauna of the Eastern Seaboard. Most of our mussels occur in the glaciated portion of the state, within the Central Lowland and Interior Low Plateau provinces and within the Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus Section of the Appalachian Plateaus Province. There are notable exceptions, such as the Muskingum River system, most of which flows through the unglaciated portion of the state but which possesses a streambed composed of glacial outwash high in carbonates and high in mussel diversity.

-Mussel distributions also have been influenced by the construction of canals (fig. 16). These structures linked disparate drainages and allowed mussels and their hosts to migrate to places outside their natural range.

-All commercial collecting was stopped statewide in 1975. However, a limited number of mussels could still be used for bait purposes. Realizing that endangered species were occasionally being shucked for bait prompted the Division to end that practice as well, and currently it is illegal to collect any live mussel or dead shell, including Asian clams, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels, regardless of rarity, without a Scientific Collecting Permit.

-The state endangered status of Ohio mussels is based strictly upon their occurrence within the state’s borders. A species may be abundant just across the state line, but that does not affect its Ohio status. For this reason, some Ohio species considered endangered may be quite common globally.

 

2005 Olentangy Document

-Habitat alteration, such as channelization, negatively impacts biological communities by limiting the complexity of living spaces available to aquatic organisms.

-Whenever the natural flow regime is altered to facilitate drainage, increased amounts of sediment are likely to enter streams either by overland transport or increased bank erosion.

 

-The element of greatest concern is phosphorus because it is critical for plant growth and is often the limiting nutrient.

 

-The amount of oxygen soluble in water is low and it decreases as temperature increases.

 

-Ammonia enters streams as a component of fertilizer and manure run-off and wastewater effluent.

 

-Metals can be toxic to aquatic life and hazardousto human health. Although they are naturally occurring elements m

any are extensively used in manufacturing and are by-products of human activity.

 

-High concentrations of eitherfecal coliform bacteria or Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a lake or stream may indicate contamination with human pathogens.

 

-Chemical quality of sediment is a concern because many pollutants bind strongly to soil particles and are persistent in the environment.

 

-Nonpoint sources of pollution to a water resource are a direct function of surrounding land use.

 

-The recreation use attainment status throughout each WAU was assessed by bacterial sampling. Results from the sampling indicate elevated bacterial levels throughout each WAU, potentially impairing the designated or recommended recreation use.

-Water Quality Standards (WQS) established for the public water supply beneficial use (OAC 3745-1-33) currently apply within 500 yards of an intake and for all publicly owned lakes.

-The City of Delaware water treatment plant is located just north of the City of Delaware and serves approximately 28,000 persons through 9,300 service connections.

-Del-Co operates a community public water system that serves a total population of approximately 90,600 people.

-Throughout the state of Ohio there is a limit of no more than one meal per week of any sport fish due to mercury contamination.

-Twenty spills resulting in discharges to streams were reported from 1994-2004 within the study area.

-Fine grain sediment samples were collected in the upper 4 inches of bottom material at each location using decontaminated stainless steel scoops and excavated using nitrile gloves.

-Recreation use attainment was assessed by using fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria as test organisms.

-Macroinvertebrates were collected from artificial substrates and from the natural habitats.

-Fish were sampled using pulsed DC electrofishing methods.

-Point sources of pollution include insufficiently treated wastewater and separate sewer overflows from the City of Galion. G

-U.S. EPA has mandated that states adopt nutrient criteria as nutrients are consistently identified as a cause of impairment.

-The only sites that scored less than fair were the two sites located on Mud Run which scored in the poor range. Mud Run is designated MH due to maintenance activities by the county engineer.

-Streambed materials of the upper reach of the Olentangy River, from Edward Street (RM 89.25) to Lyons Road (RM 63.4) developed primarily from tills. Sand, silt, cobble, boulder, and gravel were noted as predominant substrate types, though areas of hardpan, artificial substrates (concrete),and bedrock were also noted.

-The fish communities of the UOWAU were sampled at sixteen locations. The eight Olentangy River mainstem sites generallyshowed good correlation with habitat conditions.

-The fish community within the upper Olentangy River mainstem was evaluated at four sites from Edward Street (RM 89.3) to Roberts Road (RM 56.6). Community index scores and narrative evaluations ranged between very good (IBI=49) and fair (IBI=33).

-Macroinvertebrate communities were evaluated at 15 stations and one mixing zone in the UOWAU (Table 13). The community performance was evaluated as exceptional at three stations, very good at one, good at two, marginally good at five, fair at two, low fair at one, and poor at one.

-Recreation use impairment was documented for the entire Olentangy River mainstem within the MOWAU. Package WWTPs plants, home sewage treatment systems and livestock were found to be the primary sources of the impairment.

-The physical habitat of 16 sites within the MOWAU was evaluated with the QHEI. One mainstem site scored in the poor range as a result of habitat destruction by unrestricted livestock access to the stream and one site scored within the fair range as a result of being impounded by a dam.

-Similar to the upper reach, streambed substrate in the middle reach of the Olentangy River from Roberts Road (RM 56.6) to Fulton Road (RM 40.8) developed primarily from glacial tills. Boulders, bedrock, concrete, cobble, hardpan, silt, gravel and sand were present throughout the middle section of the Olentangy River, though silt, sand and hardpan dominated the substrates from Shearer Road (RM 79.7) to Roberts Road (RM 58.9), while gravel, sand, cobble and boulders with slabs dominated the stream bed from State Route 95 (RM 54.7) to Fulton Road (RM 40.8).

-The Olentangy River macroinvertebrate communities sampled in this assessment unit upstream from Delaware Lake were meeting or exceeding the expectations for the WWH aquatic life use designation.

-The WCWAU matches the boundaries of the USGS hydrologic unit #05060001-100 which encompasses the drainage area beginning with the headwaters of Whetstone Creek and ending at the mouth of Whetstone Creek at Delaware Lake.

-The overall WAU aquatic life use attainment score was 21. An overall attainment score of 0 would reflect 0 sites meeting designated or recommended aquatic life uses in the WAU while a score of 100 would reflect all sites meeting designated or recommended aquatic life uses.

-All of the spills reported

to ODNR between 1994-2004 for the WCWAU were related to

manure releases (Figure 49). A broken seal on an irrigation sprayer caused manure to seep over land and into drain tiles, affecting 1.9 miles of Big Run. Manure applied onto fields drained into tiles affecting 0.17 miles of a tributary to Whetstone Creek (RM 6.98). The largest manure spill occurred with a lagoon overflow at Harper Crest Dairy, affecting 9.55 miles of Shaw Creek.

 

-Whetstone Creek drains more landscape within the Olentangy watershed than any other tributary to the mainstem (115 square miles). Some portions of its riparian corridor are arguably the finest remaining in the Olentangy both in width and length of contiguous forest cover.

-Trends analysis revealed generally improved conditions in Whetstone Creek during 2003 versus past surveys. This was especially noticeable downstream of the Mt. Gilead and Cardington WWTPs.

-Sediment samples were obtained from 4 different sites on the mainstem of Whetstone Creek. Total organic carbon (TOC) was the only parameter above reference values. TOC contaminated sediment did not appear to cause problems for the benthos in the Whetstone Creek watershed.

-The stream physical habitat of 22 sites within the WCWAU were evaluated with QHEI. The only sites that scored in the poor to fair ranges were Claypole Run, a tributary to Whetstone Creek RM 33.71 and two sites on Shaw Creek. Agricultural activities have modified the habitat in these areas, limiting their ability to support aquatic communities.

-The upper reach of Whetstone Creek was evaluated from West Point-Galion Road (RM 30.5) to State Route 61 and State Route 42 (RM 22.4). The upper reach appeared to originate primarily from glacial tills with gravel, sand and cobble substrates dominant and intermixed with boulders, hardpan, detritus, and occasional areas of silt and concrete. Silt was present in normal to moderate amounts throughout the upper reach. However, substrates were embedded in moderate to extensive amounts at the two upper most sites, West Point-Galion Road (RM 30.5) and Mt. Gilead-West Point Road (RM 29.3) while the substrates were embedded in normal amounts from Marion-Williamsport Road (RM 28.1) to State Route 61 and State Route 42 (RM 22.4).

-Fish communities in Whetstone Creek were sampled at eleven sites from upstream of the Candlewood Lake WWTP (RM 30.5) to State Route 229 (RM 2.6). Fish community indices and narrative evaluations ranged from marginally good (IBI=36) to exceptional (IBI=54).

-Macroinvertebrate communities were evaluated at 23 stations in the Whetstone Creek assessment unit (WAU 05060001-100) (Table 24). The community performance was evaluated as exceptional at 10 stations, very good at one,good at two, marginally good at one, fair at five, low fair at two, and two mixing zone stations were sampled twice, the Mt. Gilead WWTP mixing zone was marginally good and fair and the Cardington WWTP mixing zone was fair on both passes.

-Recreation impairment occurred throughout the Olentangy River mainstem. Numerous wet weather related sanitary and combined sewer overflows were noted during the surveys. Several tributaries are known to receive SSOs, which then discharge directly to the Olentangy River.

-The urbanized setting of the LOWAU has produced both point and nonpoint sources of pollution including CSOs and SSOs, urban stormwater runoff and altered hydrology due to the hardened watershed.

-General water chemistry grab samples including demand parameters, dissolved materials, bacteria, and total recoverable metals were collected 6 times during the period of June through September 2003.

-Recreational use attainment was problematic in the lower Olentangy River. Primary contact maximum standards for both E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria were exceeded at all mainstem sites (Table 26), although primary contact average criteria were only surpassed at the site near the mouth (Figures 95, 96). Numerous wet-weather related, sanitary and combined sewer overflows noted during the survey are likely partially responsible for this situation.

-The lower reach of the Olentangy River from Main Road (RM 32.1) to the Goodale exit of State Route 315 (RM 0.9) contains numerous dams which impede flow and create impoundments characterized by slow currents and monotypic habitats of long pools with occasional areas of woody debris and fallen logs.

-The landscape of the upper portion of the LOWAU is rapidly changing from primarily agriculture with fields and woodlots as residential and commercial developments expand northward from the heavily urbanized lower portion of the LOWAU.

-The freshwater mussel (Unionidae) populations in the Olentangy River are on the decline.

 

Dragonflies and Damselflies

-Like all insects, odonates have three basic body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.

-The arrangement of the eyes and the space between them is the most important in identifying an individual to a family. The compound eyes contain many thousands of facets. The simple eyes (ocellus) are located on the vertex between the large eyes and are used to detect light. The area directly behind the eyes is called the occiput. The labrum is the upper lip of the mouth and the mandible is the chewing mechanism. The thorax, composed of three sections, anchors the legs and the wings. The section closest to the head is called the pro-thorax and the first pair of legs is attached to it. The other two sections are fused together to make up the pterothorax. This is the section that is responsible for providing the strength to fly. The minute opening on the lateral surface is called a spiracle, which allows air to pass in and out of the odonate’s body.

-The dragonflies of Northeast Ohio (95 species) include the following with these differences: Petaltails and Clubtails have widely spaced eyes, Spiketails have eyes that meet nearly at a point and Darners, Cruisers, Emeralds and Skimmers have eyes that meet at a seam.

-Damselflies are separated into the Broad-winged, Spreadwing, and Pond Damsels (45 species). Their eyes are set far apart. Many species have a unique pattern on the back of the head (postocular spots), often accompanied by a similarly colored occipital bar.

-The stigma (pterostigma) is a large, pigmented cell near the tip of the wing and serves to help maintain balance and direction during flight. The costa is the leading vein of the wing, and the nodus is the obvious indentation in the costa. At rest, dragonflies hold their wings perpendicular to their bodies. The hindwing is always wider than the forewing.

-At rest, most damselflies hold their wings together above their bodies, paralleling their abdomens. The forewings and hindwings are similar in shape and structure. Because they have fewer cross veins in their wings, they are less dynamic in the air than their more robust dragonfly relatives.

-After the courtship rituals, mating and egg-laying, adult odonates leave the eggs on their own in the aquatic nursery sites. Eggs range in size from 0.4 to 2 millimeters and are either oval or elongate in shape depending on the species.

-The eggs require moisture for development to begin. Water temperature is a factor in determining the length of the development period. This process may take a few days or a number of months depending on the species. Often, individual eggs of a single egg mass develop at different rates. Some eggs arevery hardy and can withstand sub-freezing temperatures as they spend the winter inside the plant stems in which they were inserted.

-The time span of the odonate’s aquatic stage may range from one month to five years. A newly hatched dragonfly or damselfly is called a nymph, a naiad or, occasionally, a larva. Since dragons and damsels do not enter a pupal stage of metamorphosis, the term nymph will be used instead of larva.

-Dragonfly and damselfly nymphs breathe by means of gills. In damselfly nymphs, the gills are visible as three petal-shaped, caudal appendages protruding from the end of the abdomen. The gills in dragonflies are located internally, inside the rectal chamber. The expansion and contraction of the rectal walls draws in and expels water through the anus. When threatened, a nymph can forcefully expel water from the rectal chamber, thus propelling itself rapidly forward for a quick escape from danger.

-Nymphs are well-equipped with large, compound eyes for locating their prey by sight. Mosquito larvae are some of their favorite food, but they also prey upon small crustaceans and other aquatic insects as well as each other. They sometimes take prey much larger than themselves, such as tadpoles or small fish. As a nymph grows, they shed their exoskeletons. They may molt up to 15 times (depending on the species) before reaching the final instar, the last nymphal stage before emergence.

-Dragonfly and damselfly nymphs are adapted with a unique lower jaw (labium) that is a long, hinged, extendable appendage, with two moveable lobes and hooks for grasping and holding. It is normally carried in a folded position beneath the head and thorax. When prey is within range, the lower jaw is suddenly thrust forward with the hooks open. Upon contact with the prey, the hooks close as the jaw is retracted, bringing the food in and holding it against the mandibles on the bottom of the head. Depending on the species, the lower jaw may be flat or spoon-shaped.

-Dragonfly and damselfly nymphs rely on one of the two basic feeding (hunting) strategies: stalking or ambushing. Nymphs belonging to the first group move slowly and deliberately toward their quarry until it is in range of their lethal lower jaw. Nymphs belonging to the second group prefer to cover themselves with silt or bury themselves in sand or muck, lying in wait until a hapless victim strays within range.

-Fish, larger predatory aquatic insects (water bugs and predaceous diving beetles), and wading birds (herons, egrets, bitterns, and waterfowl all comprise of predators that eat dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. Newly created wetland mitigation sites, the small shallow headwater streams of rivers and creeks, backyard ponds, and vernal pools are ideal habitats for dragonfly and damselfly nymphs.

-Particularly pond/lake/swamp dwelling dragon and damsel nymphs are quite tolerant of a wide range of water quality. However, some species that dwell in rivers, streams, bogs, and seeps must have well-oxygenated and often cold water.

-The transformation from nymph to adult occurs under the cover of night, when nymphs leave the water, split their aquatic skins and emerge, leaving their exoskeleton behind. The shed exoskeletons (exuviae) are often seen clinging to vegetation or other objects in or near the water. The exuviae often doubles as a residence for spiders and other small creatures that commonly take refuge within. After emergence, dragonflies and damselflies being the next stage of their development as winged adults.

-The use of stereo microscope and multiple odonate nymph keys are often required to identify dragonfly and damselfly species. Sometimes the only sure way to obtain a positive identification is to successfully raise the nymph to adulthood. Sometimes a simple characteristic, such as the body shape of a nymph, or knowledge of the habitat in which it is found, may be enough to narrow the field to a family or genus.

-During the final days of the nymph stage, the adult odonate is already forming within its aquatic skeleton.

-The main purpose of the winged stage is procreation, with distribution and genetic diversification following as a result. The site for emergence of the adult should be out of water and afford the nymph a secure perch to anchor to during the extreme contortions that follow.

-Some species prefer to cling to a floating log or plant material parallel to the water’s surface, some choose a rock or debris along the shoreline or within the creek itself, others may seek a specific angle they can hang from so gravity pulls their bodies away from the exuvia during their transition, some other species transform just above the waterline, while others may venture well away from the water and even climb several feet up into a tree before embarking on their journey to adulthood.

-Most dragonfly species prefer to emerge under the cover of darkness, but often clubtails and many damselfly species will emerge during warmer daylight hours. As soon as the nymph leaves the water, it begins to dry. As moisture from the damp exoskeleton evaporates, it begins to shrink and become brittle. Meanwhile, the nymph, which is now breathing air through its spiracles and trachea, is expanding. This combination causes a split to develop along the top of its thorax. As this gap widens, the soft thorax begins to appear. It emerges from the exoskeleton and rears out of the ruptured skin, doubling back on itself, gradually drawing its long legs out and away from the dried skin. Once the legs are free and somewhat sturdy, the imago begins to free its abdomen by climbing clear of the exuvia, sometimes using it as a ladder to move upward and away from the spend skin.

-Since the shell retains the characteristics of the nymph, the species can often be identified from that. Most exuviae retain long, whitish threads, called tracheal tubes. The trachea, which carries oxygen molecules to cells throughout the body, has a thin lining that is pulled inside out as the adult emerges. These tubes come from the gaping hole in the thorax.

-Gradually, the wings unfurl and expand as hemolymph (the insect equivalent to blood), is pumped through the veins by way of repeated abdominal contractions. Especially larger odonates hang down, parallel to the body, in order to allow their full expansion. Sun and heat assist in the drying process, but high humidity and rain may prolong it. If a heavy downpour should occur at this stage, many individuals are swept back into the water and die. Human activities such as boating and jet ski recreation can destroy an entire group of teneral odonates with their wakes.

-There is a high mortality rate due to bird predation during transformation. As soon as the odonate senses its wings and exoskeleton have hardened enough to support flight, usually within an hour or two, it makes its first flight, seeking better cover. This could be a nearby sanctuary amongst dense grass on the shoreline, farther afield in shrubs, or a hundred yards away, up in a tree. By this time, the odonate’s color patterns are starting to show, but they may not resemble their mature adult patterns. Tenerals have very distinctive wings-the veins are pale and the membranes between them appear soft and pliable.

-The process of maturation may take several days-up to a week for some species. While in transition from teneral to sexually mature adult, they’re referred to as immatures. This time is usually spent feeding voraciously well away from the body of water from whence it came. Once their skin has completely hardened they cannot grow larger, in spite of the amount of prey they consume. However, their body mass can double within the girdle of the exoskeleton.

-Basking is a popular preoccupation, especially on cool mornings. If their flight muscles are too cold, they’re unable to muster the strength to take off. Dragonflies differ from other insects in that each wing is controlled by its own set of muscles. This gives them incredible maneuverability, because each wing works independently of the others. Larger dragonflies, such as Darners, vibrate their wings quickly in order to warm their flight muscles. Smaller species rely on basking and obelisking for thermoregulation. Obelisking, raising the abdomen skyward to minimize the surface area heated by the sun, is used to cool the body on hot days.

-Some dragonflies, Darners in particular, cool their bodies by circulating hemolymph through their abdominal sections while flying. Other species may dive down and forcefully hit the water.

-Most species spend the night in shrubs, trees, or grasses, where they are camouflaged and very difficult to locate. While most species are totally diurnal, some continue to be active at dusk and beyond (Fawn Darners, Shadowdragons, and Vesper Bluets). Some dragons and damsels roost communally for the night (Ebony Jewelwings). Roosting behavior may be advantageous in terms of increased vigilance, both during the night and early morning, when warm-blooded predators, such as birds, begin to forage long before cold-blooded odonates become fully active. Communal roosts may also confuse and/or scare predators. When one is disturbed, they take off en masse, creating noise and confusion.

-Most species will find a spot in the vegetation, usually lower to the ground, perhaps to take advantage of the existing heat differential. This strategy also helps to keep them out of the wind, which may knock them from the roost perch and potentially cause them to be discovered by a nocturnal predator. On especially dewy mornings, odonates are even more vulnerable to predators, since they are weighed down by the dew covering their wings and bodies. Dew further cools their bodies as it evaporates, increasing the time it takes them to warm up, the increased motion from their wing vibrations tends to attract one of their deadliest predators-the praying mantis.

-Dragonflies typically intercept insect prey in flight, sometimes approaching from below, garnering a better view of the intended prey. At the last instant, they rise upward and snatch the unsuspecting victim out of the air, snagging it in the unique basket-like arrangement formed by how they hold their legs. Some dragonflies will eat their prey as they continue to patrol, but most will fly to a perch to consume their meal, concentrating on the bulkiest part of the head, thorax and abdomen.

-Wings are typically discarded during the feeding process, plucked and dropped to the ground below.

-Damselflies are more likely to feed on insects they can pick off of such surfaces as plants, rocks, or the ground. They hover around vegetation, frequently jabbing at any incongruity or bug-like spot on leaves or stems until they make a successful capture. To finish off their meal, they will seek a somewhat safe site. Damselflies are more likely to eat while perching, however they will fly short jaunts carrying prey if they are disturbed.

-Some dragonflies such as Petaltails, Darners, Clubtails and Pondhawks will feed on other dragons as well as damsels. The larger members of the damselfly group will feed on smaller members within the Zygoptera, such as Dancers and Sprites. Deerflies, craneflies, mosquitoes, midges, butterflies, moths, beetles, leafhoppers, aphids-virtually any insect they can safely subdue can become a meal. As eggs, predation/parasitism can come from several species of wasps, one of which is historically reported to swim through the water seeking dragonfly eggs in which to deposit its own eggs. Odonate nymphs are predated by birds (waterfowl, herons, king fishers, and shorebirds), fish, mammals (raccoons), reptiles (turtles), amphibians (newts and salamanders) and aquatic insects (predaceous diving beetles-larvae and adults, giant water bugs-nymphs and adults, and backswimmers).

-Mammals (bats and rodents), birds (including grebes, kestrels, flycatchers, phoebes, shrikes, swallows), reptiles (lizards), amphibians (frogs and toads) and insects (robber flies, spiders, bees, wasps, mantises and ants) have all been noted and observed as odonate predators.

-Carnivorous plants, such as sundew species, can snare an unsuspecting dragon or damsel as they hunt smaller prey in a bog environment. Other odonate enemies can include man (habitat destruction, pollution, road kill, over-collecting), weather (storms, drought, early or late frosts, excessive flooding that can wash away nymphs and/or change stream substrate, numerous cool or rainy days in succession that can lead to starvation) and parasites and parasitoids (larval water mites, trematodes, parasitic wasps, biting gnats and other microorganisms).

-Once the immature stage has passed, the mature adults return to the breeding environment seeking a potential mate. Males of some species quickly stake out a territory, which may be only a few feet of shoreline, and work diligently to chase away male competitors. Others fly repeated passes up and down a stream or river, trolling for females and feeding as they go. Once a candidate mate has been spied, the male takes an aggressive approach, quickly grabbing the female with his legs. He transfers his hold to her prothorax with his clasping terminal appendages before she has much time to react.

-The primary sex organs of both genders are part of the last two abdominal segments, but unlike most animals, they don’t connect directly. All male odonates have secondary sex organs located on the underside of their abdominal segment. These organs consist of a number of components, including the hamules, where the female’s abdomen latches on. Males equip these organs with packages of sperm from their primary genitalia before they encounter a female. The male’s primary sex organ consists of claspers, located at the end of its abdomen, which are uniquely shaped to correspond to an area directly behind the head of the female of their species. The male firmly connects with the female at this point and the two are said to be in tandem.

-Occasionally, one may find a female with the male’s abdomen still attached, but no thorax or head present. This is typically the result of a larger odonate predating the male while he is otherwise engaged and cannot escape quickly. The claspers of the partially devoured male may continue to firmly grasp the female for several hours. Eventually, the claspers relax and the female is free to seek another mate.

-For some dragonfly species (Darners, Skimmers) there is flight in tandem position. Others perform most of their mating sequence on a secluded perch. The receptive female curls the tip of her abdomen up to connect with the male’s hamules. Once attached, the configuration is called a mating wheel. They may remain in this positon for several minutes-rarely more than an hour, while insemination takes place. During this period, males spend all but a few seconds using their scoop-like apparatus to clear out any residual sperm packets from the female’s previous encounters. This behavior ensures that one male’s genes alone are passed on to a female’s progeny.

-Some species remain in tandem until the female has laid the eggs he has fertilized. Others disconnect completely and the female oviposits unattended. In Ebony Jewelwings, the male releases the female after mating, but escorts her while she goes about the business of oviposition. He hover guards, remaining within inches of her to ensure his genes are passed on to another generation.

-Karate guarding is after separating from the female, a male will attack another male that attempts to interfere with his female. Using his abdominal claspers, he grans the interloping male behind the head and keeps him in the tandem configuration until his mate has laid her eggs.

-Another strategy is used by Double-striped Bluets. These damsels usually remain in tandem while the female lays her eggs. She will land on a suitable piece of aquatic vegetation and begin to oviposit right around the water level. She gradually backs farther and farther underwater as she deposits her eggs on the plant. Soon she is totally submerged and continues laying her eggs while the male balances on her neck. Once the male’s thorax reaches the waterline, he usually releases her and flies away, confident she’ll continue the job without interruption. Some females, such as the River Jewelwing, who do not remain in tandem after mating may venture far underwater and will continue laying eggs for 30 minutes or longer before coming back up for air.

-Odonates with lance-like ovipositors cut slits into vegetation and carefully place their eggs within plant tissues. Others oviposit into moss or rotting wood. Some plunge their abdomens into mud and deposit their eggs. Blue meticulously set their eggs one at a time on barely submerged surfaces such as a lilypad. Some odonates, such as the Spreadwings and Darners, oviposit into plant stems that are out of the water. Other species do not lay their eggs on vegetation, but scatter them, seemingly at random, on the water’s surface or even on the ground near water or where water might be likely to collect.

-Clubtails typically do not lay their eggs on vegetation and don’t remain in tandem during oviposition. The female flies back and forth over the water, periodically tapping her abdomen on the surface to release several eggs at a time.

-Dragonflies usually use air currents at higher altitudes. Migrating odonates follow and use optimal weather patterns for their flight times. They appear not to migrate on very windy days, but may choose to move after successive nights with a drop in temperature.

-Species reported as migratory in Northeast Ohio are the Common Green and Swamp Darners, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Wandering and Spot-winged Gliders, and Black Saddlebags. They possess relatively larger wings as compared to their body size, an adaptation that allows for a stronger, more sustained flight.

-Most adult dragonflies do not die of old age. Rather, they are caught by predators or succumb to harsh weather or starvation. Those that persevere can live six to eight weeks on average. The smaller, more fragile damselflies do well if they live longer than one to two weeks on the wing.

-As odonates near the twilight of adulthood, the wings start to deteriorate and can exhibit tears or missing sections. In some species, the body coloration changes and females can take on a male-like appearance, as in Dot-tailed Whiteface assemblage shown. When they can no longer fly, they become defenseless to ants and scavengers that might not otherwise be equipped to feed on them. For some, their last flight ends with a final plunge into the water, remaining there until they expire or are eaten by other predators.

-After death, their colors quickly fade.