Recap of the January Inning on the Mill Creek

by Matt Stonecash

Doug Jose chaired our monthly meeting last week; announcements included details for the upcoming Miami Group Retreat and the Ohio Chapter Retreat. Michael Miller, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cincinnati, then took the floor to deliver an update on the status of the Mill Creek.

Jan 2016 InningDr. Miller conducted a comprehensive tour of the Mill Creek, from its outlet to the Ohio River in Downtown Cincinnati, to its various tributaries in the North. By many measures, such as phosphorous concentration and the numbers and variety of fish – the Mill Creek has rebounded significantly since being described, in 1997, as the “most endangered urban river in North America”.

The Mill Creek Yacht club has successfully cleaned mountains of the trash and debris obstructing the flow of the river, and the Mill Creek Watershed Council has launched several projects to ameliorate some of the damage that has been done by human impact. Some of these projects include restoring natural meanders and pools that ease the flow of the creek, removing features such as dams that block migration, and diverting polluted rainwater by allowing it to fill drainage systems rather than running off into the Mill Creek.

There remains much to do, however. Particularly in the branches of the Mill Creek to the north of the city, waters are still quite polluted and the streams are in great danger.

Dr. Miller encouraged all to visit the website of the Mill Creek Yacht Club (link) to register, learn more and donate to the Mill Creek Watershed Council.

During the ensuing Q&A, discussion centered around challenges faced by Dr. Miller and others who strive to protect waterways. Legal battles against those who pollute and otherwise damage the Mill Creek are difficult to wage because of the deep pockets of industry. Hope lies in educating more Cincinnatians about this critical issue: as awareness grows so too will funding of these crucial projects to keep the status of the Mill Creek moving in the right direction.