Fayette County Farm Bureau in partnership with Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District held its 2nd Annual Canoe Float at Paint Creek earlier this month. This family oriented event was designed to highlight local watersheds and educate participants as they explored their local rivers from the unique perspective of floating down river.
This year over 30 participants lathered on the sunscreen and made their way down roughly a 1.5 mile stretch of river. Along the way, participants were encouraged to complete a scavenger hunt that helped children identify stream characteristics such as ripples and tributaries. Additionally, Soil & Water provided seine nets that allowed for children to catch various species of macroinvertebrates for identification.
Macroinvertebrates are bioindicators of water quality. By allowing canoe goers the chance to go seining, it showed them what types of animals live in our local waters.
It was a positive sign to catch crayfish as they are a hallmark species for clean water. Crayfish are very sensitive to water pollution, so seeing them is a great way to monitor water quality.
The highlight of the event was the pair of nesting bald eagles that call Paint Creek home. Their nest, which has to be at least 5 feet in diameter, towers over
the river. Participants experienced both the young sitting outside the nest, as well as the magnificent parents soaring overhead. Through the dedicated efforts of many agriculture, government and environmental groups, bald eagles are making a comeback in the areas of the state where they were once absent.
As water quality continues to be a hot button issue across Ohio, it is important for organizations to engage local communities and work cooperatively toward improving water quality. Our rivers and lakes are important not just for our drinking water, but for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat too.`