Welcome to the Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed's WIKI page. Like Wikipedia.org, this new website allows you to read articles, edit, and post information about the Olentangy River and its tributaries.

This project is an evolving work in progress and we are in need of volunteers to write articles, collect information, share observations, and contribute photos.

If you wish to volunteer as an online collaborator please contact info@olentangywatershed.org. By participating as a collaborator you will have the opportunity to share what you know about our watershed.

Or feel free to simply browse what others have written by clicking on the links at the left.

Either way, we hope this wiki site will help engage you with the Olentangy Watershed. Please check out the Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed website for more ways that you can become involved.

What is the Lower Olentangy Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land over which water runs on its way to a river. Therefore, everything that occurs in a watershed has either a positive or negative effect on the health of its river.

Every watershed combines with other adjacent watersheds to form a basin, and basins combine to form larger watersheds. The Olentangy watershed is part of the Scioto River basin, which drains to the Ohio River. The Ohio River in turn flows into the Mississippi, which makes its way south to the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, activities that occur here in north-central Ohio have a direct effect on the quality of water in all bodies of water that are downstream. Unhealthy activities in a watershed make for an unhealthy river, just as cleanup projects in one area help to enhance the health of others.

The Olentangy watershed is 32 miles long, and includes about 150 square miles of land situated between the Delaware Dam and the Scioto River. Twenty two of those miles were designated a State Scenic River in 1973 because of its exceptional water quality.

The watershed includes the City of Delaware, several university campuses including the Ohio State University and significant portions of Northern Columbus. A large section of Delaware County, the fastest growing area in Ohio, is also part of the watershed. About 250,000 people live in the watershed.

Watershed: The land area that drains to a specific body of surface water such as a stream, river, lake or ocean. For maps of watersheds in the state of Ohio, see Ohio Watersheds and Drainage Basins Maps.

Lower Olentangy River: The 32-mile section of the Olentangy River that begins at the Delaware Dam in Delaware County and runs south to the confluence with the Scioto River in the City of Columbus.

Naming of the river: The name Olentangy, meaning “river of the red face paint”, was a Delaware name given to what we now call the Big Darby. The river we now call the Olentangy was once called “Keen-hong-she-con-sepung,” meaning “sharp more and more tool river” or “Whetstone.” Whetstones from the Olentangy were used to sharpen tools. In 1833 the Ohio legislature changed the river’s name from the Whetstone to Olentangy as part of a statewide plan to restore Indian names to Ohio streams, unfortunately getting the Indian names for Darby Creek and the Olentangy River confused.

Olentangy River Plant and Animal Life

The Olentangy River contains a wide diversity of plant life. These are plants that thrive in the water and those found along the river banks. Check out some beautiful photos on the Olentangy Plant Life and Olentangy Animal Life pages.