One of my favorite ways to study Darby is using the software Google Earth.
Google Earth is like flying in a spaceship. You start out viewing the earth from space, and then you can swoop down to view any place on the planet from a bird's eye view--usually to a height of a few hundred feet, depending on the resolution of the satellite photos the software taps for any given spot.
At right is a photo of the confluence of Big Darby and Little Darby at Georgesville in western Franklin County. It shows a rural mosaic of land uses, from the small town of Georgesville to woods and fields surrounding the creeks. Most of the land in view is part of Battelle-Darby Metro Park.
I can use the software to zoom in on any area of the watershed I want to see. This has allowed me to scout out promising areas to explore. It also gives me a great view of development as it spreads throughtout the area.
To sign up, just go to the Google home page and search "Google Earth." The first hit is where you sign up. This software free!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Here's a map showing the location of the Big Darby Creek watershed, in case you don't know where it is. As you can see, it is just to the west of the Columbus metropolitan area.
It's proximity to a large urban center is surprising to many, as human development almost always destroys the streams around it. In fact, Darby is the only National Scenic River that flows partly through an urban area. Fortunately, Darby is just far enough away--at least to date--that it has escaped major impacts from Columbus and its suburbs.
However, development has been creeping westward for years, and biologists believe Darby is at its tipping point. So does the national river organization American Rivers, which named Darby one of the Ten Most Endangered Rivers in 2004.
Since then, the communities in Franklin County (the county with Columbus and suburbs such as Hilliard) have agreed to an historic plan to limit development in the watershed and purchase large tracts of open space in the most sensitive areas on Darby and its tributaries. If it can be achieved, the Darby Accord will serve as a model for other communities trying to balance development with healthy streams.
This plan, the Darby Accord, can be found at this website: