Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:29PM - 631 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

A lot of people involved with Scioto Brush Creek believe it to be the area’s best kept secret.

“I really believe the main purpose of this group (Friends of Scioto Brush Creek) is education, and preserving the integrity of this amazing creek system,” Kate Sowards, Education Coordinator for the Scioto Water Conservation District, said. “I don’t think people realize what an amazing system we have out here. We have endangered species. We have things that you will find nowhere else. It’s almost like a best kept secret, but it ought not to be. It’s a resource we should all be aware of and appreciative of.”

Now, area residents will get a chance to learn more about it. Friends of Scioto Brush Creek, a local non-profit volunteer watershed group is holding their annual meeting Saturday and it is open to the public. The event will get underway at 10 a.m. at the Rarden Community Center on Ohio 73.

The featured speaker this year will be Doug Wynn, a local rattlesnake expert who is currently doing research for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. He will be joined by Shawnee State Park’s naturalist Jenny Richards. There will be a live snake demonstration and the two will share information about the animals and the ongoing research.

The public is also welcome to join the group for a potluck dinner following the presentation and is asked to carry in a dish to share.

“People may not think of Rarden, Otway and McDermott as a great, wonderful, natural place,” Sowards said. “But they have an amazing stream system, one of the best in the state.”

Among the endangered species at Scioto Brush Creek are the Virginia Spiraea, found on the creek bank, a rare species of flowering plant in the rose family that is native to the southern Appalachian mountains; and the Hellbender Salamander, a species of giant salamanders endemic to eastern North America.

“People call them mud-puppies,” Sowards said. “They get up to two feet long. And they live in the Scioto Brush Creek. They live for a very long time.”

Scioto Brush Creek also has a native population of Muskies.

“This is native population that has been here for thousands of years,” Sowards said. “This is not a fish brought in here on a truck. They have always been here. People go Muskie fishing all over the world, and they don’t even think to go in their own back yard, Scioto Brush Creek.”

Sowards said anyone interested in joining the group can find projects.

“Each spring we do a canoe sweep,” Sowards said. “People can sign up and come with us. There’s no fee involved. You just come with us, and we do a creek sweep. We do a section of the creek every year. And we clean up litter and garbage, things that have washed down.”

Sowards said anyone interested in learning more about the Friends of Scioto Brush Creek, or who want to join the group can attend the group’s meetings, such as the one coming up this Saturday.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitas.com.

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