Big Darby Creek

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Big Darby Creek
Big Darby Creek upstream from Little Darby Creek 1.jpg
Physical characteristics
River mouth Scioto River, Columbus, Ohio
Length 84 miles (135 km)
Basin features
River system Lower Scioto River Basin
Basin size 556.6 square miles (1,442 km2)
Type Scenic
Designated March 10, 1994

The Big Darby Creek is a river located in northwestern central Ohio, and an important tributary to the Lower Scioto River. The river's major tributary is the Little Darby Creek.

The river runs 84 miles (135 km) from its source near the Champaign-Union county line, south-east through Union and Madison Counties. In Franklin County, the river runs through the 7,060-acre Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park,[1] where it meets with the Little Darby Creek.[2] Directly downstream from the park, the river empties into the Scioto River in Pickaway County at 39°36′50″N 82°57′47″W / 39.613805°N 82.963108°W / 39.613805; -82.963108.

The Big Darby Creek is one of the most biologically diverse aquatic systems in the Midwest.[3] It is the site of the only known population of the Scioto madtom, a fish which is now thought to be extinct.[4] In addition, for its size the creek "has the greatest diversity of freshwater mussels in North America. Forty species have been reported from the system." [5]


When The Columbus Dispatch published an article in 1967 revealing the City of Columbus' plans to purchase over four thousand acres (16 km²) along the creek to build a reservoir, a political and legal battle ensued between the municipality and several environmental groups working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. From 1974 to 1984, both sides exchanged victories and the legal battle continued into the Ohio Supreme Court, who ended the battle by ruling that 'scenic river designation' was constitutional.[citation needed] On June 22, 1984, the Upper and Lower Darby Creeks were designated a state scenic river, and then a national scenic river on October 3, 1994.[6]

Confluence of the Big (front) and Little (rear) Darby creeks

In 2008, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium built a new exhibit focusing on the Big Darby Creek and its more than 38 rare species of fish and mussels,[7] and in 2009, the City of Columbus, Franklin County Metro Parks, the Ohio Nature Conservancy and other companies spent more than $6 million on seven projects designed to restore sections of the river and its tributaries.[8]

Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks were given their own Historical Markers. [9]

The highest recorded crest were 17.94 ft on 01/22/1959 while the most recent crest was 10.18 ft on 12/29/2015. [10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  2. ^ Franklin County Metro Parks, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
  3. ^ The Nature Conservancy, Darby Creek Watershed
  4. ^ USFWS. Noturus trautmani Five-year Review. December 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Big Darby Creek State and National Scenic River.
  7. ^ Narciso, D. Zoo exhibit to spotlight Big Darby Creek. The Columbus Dispatch January 13, 2008.
  8. ^ Hunt, S. and T. Baker. Crooked creeks. The Columbus Dispatch December 13, 2009.
  9. ^
  10. ^