Limnology of Porter Creek by Bay Village Explorer Club 360

Explorer Club 360 members Alison Hartzell, Norah Hamil and Erin Vanderkarr on the bank of Porter Creek.

Porter Creek’s ecosystem this winter is going to come under the scrutiny of three teams of Explorer Club 360 and Sea Scout youth as they study the creek’s health. The limnology – a study of the biological, chemical and physical features of a body of fresh water – will be comprised of components that include visual assessments, a macroinvertebrate biotic index and a chemical analysis at various locations along the creek’s course. The study is pending a $25 permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Recourses, Department of Wildlife that will allow the gathering of water samples and invertebrate.

From its discharge into Lake Erie at Huntington Beach in Bay Village, the creek winds through residential, commercial and recreational properties in Westlake and Avon to its headwaters at the corner of Crocker and Hilliard roads.

Our exploration of the creek follows on the heels of a $247,518 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Cuyahoga Board of Health and the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, to conduct a study titled, “A Holistic Watershed Approach to Health at Huntington Beach,” conducted from 2011 to the spring of 2014. The field component of this research showed an abundance of E. coli and a significant number of  “hot spots” in various land uses.

The results showed there were strong similarities between the bacteria found within Porter Creek and the bacteria found at Huntington Beach. Despite these results Huntington Beach is not a “bad” beach. In fact it was the first in Ohio to receive Blue Wave certification from the Washington, D.C.-based Clean Beaches Coalition. It does, however, average 16 swimming advisory days during the annual swim season.

The Sea Scouts and Explorers plan to gather and analyze their Porter Creek results and submit them in the spring of 2018 as part of the eCyber Mission competition sponsored by the U.S. Army. Future articles will detail the components of their study.

Explorer Club 360 and Sea Scout Ship 41 are co-ed groups for middle and high school students interested in activities in, on and under the water. To offer suggestions or request further details, please contact Richard Gash, or 440-871-6106.

Richard Gash

Adult leader with Sea Scout Ship 41, contact

Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:33 AM, 12.05.2017