Big & Little Darby Creeks


Big and Little Darby Creeks are located in the corn belt region of Ohio within an easy drive of Columbus. They are among the top streams in biological quality in Ohio and the Midwest. The Big and Little Darby Creek aquatic community is recognized nationally for its biodiversity.

Water quality is excellent, with the creeks being classified as "Exceptional Warmwater Habitat" by the state of Ohio under the Clean Water Act and as "Outstanding State Waters," the highest level of protection under the state's anti-degradation policy. The Big and Little Darby Creeks have been designated a "Last Great Place" by The Nature Conservancy.

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Designated Reach

March 10, 1994. Upper Darby Creek from the Champaign-Union County line to the Conrail railroad trestle (0.9 miles upstream of U.S. 40). Lower Darby Creek from the confluence with Little Darby Creek near Georgesville to the Scioto River. Little Darby Creek from the Lafayette-Plain City Road Bridge to 0.8 miles upstream from the confluence with Big Darby Creek.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values


Eighty-four species of fish plus eight hybrids have been identified for Big Darby Creek; fifty-five species of fish and four hybrids have been identified for Little Darby Creek. The scioto madtom, a federally listed endangered species was last taken in 1957 from Big Darby Creek. Despite extensive searches, it has not been seen since then and is thought possibly extinct. Four state-listed endangered fish species are found in the watershed and include the northern brook lamprey, blacknose shiner, nothern madtom, and spotted darter.


A high diversity of mollusks are found in the Creeks. Thirty-eight species of live mollusks were found in 1986; 35 live species and 5 historical records were recovered in 1990. The creeks contain two federally listed endangered species, the northern riffleshell and the clubshell mussel. Three species are under consideration for federal listing and include the snuffbox, salamander mussel, and rayed bean. Other rivers of similar size in the Eastern Cornbelt Plains and in Ohio generally have 10 fewer mollusk species than the Darby Creeks.


Scenic — 85.9 miles; Total — 85.9 miles.
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