Protecting the Environment - Big Darby Watershed
Columbus City Council has been working to save one of Central Ohio’s most important natural resources from degradation—the Big Darby Creek Watershed. Designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of the Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere, encroaching development and storm runoff from farming threatens the rich array of wildlife found in the watershed, including 103 species of fish and 38 species of mussels, at least 104 species of birds, 35 species of mammals, and 33 species of reptiles and amphibians. More than 25 rare or endangered plant species are also dependent upon the corridor areas of the watershed.
The Big Darby Creek main stem, named a State and National Scenic River, is approximately 88 miles long with 245 miles of tributaries that flow from the headwaters near Marysville to its confluence with the Scioto River near Circleville. The Darby system drains approximately 580 square miles.
Council first took action in 2003 to advance environmentally conscious policies by imposing a moratorium on City sewer and water line extensions into the watershed. Because Columbus occupies just one percent of the watershed, it was critical to forge a partnership with surrounding political jurisdictions. With the administration, Council called for all governments within the Watershed to similarly suspend development until together they could complete a comprehensive, intergovernmental planning accord to protect this natural resource. Planning work commenced in the summer of 2004.
In total, ten governments participated in the planning effort to reach a common vision for future that lays out general development principles designed to protect the environment and preserve the rights of property owners wishing to develop land. The final report was issued in June, 2006.
To-date, eight of the ten participating governments with jurisdiction in the watershed have agreed to the principles established in the Big Darby Accord. Columbus City Council adopted the Accord on July 31, 2006.
Big Darby Accord Update 09/07/2007
Big Darby Accord Watershed Master Plan (6.6MB)