(2005-06) Huehner, Martin K.; Krebs, Robert A.; Zimmerman, Gregory; Mejia, Melissa
Unionid mussel distribution, numbers, and species were examined in the Grand River to
provide a recent and comprehensive study of mussels from northeast Ohio’s longest river. The entire length of the Grand was canoed and examined for unionid mussel beds, with the exception of upstream areas where the river was small; SCUBA was used to survey just upstream of Fairport Harbor. The lower
river, designated Grand River’s Wild and Scenic section, was studied in 1995, the middle reaches, called the Scenic section, were surveyed in 1996, and completion of the headwater region followed in 1998. Finally, a survey near the mouth of the river was made in 2002. A total of 95 sites were examined visually, by hand, with bottom sieves, dip nets, or by diving, as conditions demanded; riverbanks were searched
for dead shells. A total of 11,625 living mussels and 4,514 dead shells comprising 27 species were identified. All species found were represented by living specimens. Comparisons to earlier collections indicated that the unionid fauna is changing, especially in downstream areas, but the diversity of these threatened acroinvertebrates in the Grand River has been much less affected than in the neighboring Ohio rivers to the west.
(2005-06) Zhang, Li; Mitsch, William J.; Fink, Daniel F.
The restoration of riparian buffers as well as the creation and restoration of wetlands along streams are practices that can be used to control point and non-point source pollution. Our study provides hydrology and water quality data from 2000-2002 in anticipation of recommending restoration of the headwaters of the Big Darby Creek Watershed in central Ohio. One tributary of concern in the headwaters, Flat Branch, contributed 11% of the total river flow during April 2002 flooding and 56 and 88% of the flow in the headwater study area during non-growing (winter and early spring) and growing (summer and early fall) seasons, respectively. There were significant differences in water chemistry, both temporally and spatially, at each sampling station within the upper watershed. Flat Branch was seasonally or continuously higher in temperature, pH, and turbidity, and lower in dissolved ions and oxygen than Darby Creek. Low dissolved oxygen at dawn during the summer months caused by diurnal metabolism in the water column is also a concern in Darby Creek. We propose the creation/restoration of riparian wetlands at the confluence of the Big Darby and Flat Branch as one solution to degrading water quality in the upper Big Darby watershed. Flood pulses, particularly from the Flat Branch, could be directed to riparian wetlands, which would minimize downstream erosion and capture the water exactly when
several pollutants (sediments, nitrates, and so forth) are in higher concentrations. The restoration area could have flood control, habitat, and ecotourism values as well.
We monitored breeding bird populations in a woodland plot in Hamilton County, OH. By
comparing historical data (1991-1998) with 2003 populations, we observed a decrease in the populations of more species than expected by chance. In contrast, few species showed a population increase. Overall, the total number of territorial males in 2003 was 12% below the average number from 1991 to 1998.
This study examines Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to determine its impact on the
destruction of wetlands. The data for this study was obtained from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Included is the number of Section 404 permit applications received by the ACOE during the period 1990 to 2001 and the action taken on these applications for six northern Ohio counties — Lucas, Ottawa, Portage, Summit, Stark, and Wood. During the study period a total of 1,676 applications were received from the six counties. 79.3% of the applications were issued by the ACOE. Less than 1% of the applications were rejected, and 17% of the applications were withdrawn before action was taken. In all, these counties requested 283.5 acres of wetlands for filling. 238.4 acres were approved for destruction, and 586.82 acres
were proposed for mitigation by the ACOE. The core of this study is mitigation results. The ACOE has no record certifying that proposed mitigations were carried out. They blame this on insufficient manpower to
undertake the investigative task. Consequently, wetlands have been destroyed in anticipation of mitigation without corresponding mitigation activities. Most mitigation is conducted by conservation groups through mitigation banking. Their information is sketchy and their data is hard to obtain. For mitigation to work, the ACOE and EPA need to generate a feedback loop to monitor mitigation activities, a
condition which is currently lacking in the organizational structure of the ACOE.
Floristic studies are imperative for documentation of our biodiversity. We conducted floristic surveys within regions of Ohio that were ecologically interesting and contained a diverse flora. We report
new records of five vascular plant species, Nigella damascena, Salix x sepulcralis, Spiraea x bumalda,Thermopsis villosa, and Veronica longifolia. Two of these species have not been reported in Ohio, while three are new to the county in which they were collected.