Ecology of the Whetstone (Olentangy) Today

The upper Whetstone, compared to Ohio’s other rivers, is a geologically youthful river. From its headwaters in Morrow County, the Whetstone flows over eroded bedrock in a shallow valley through the rich glacial till of North-Central Ohio until it joins its sister Marion County river, the mighty Scioto, in today’s Confluence Park in Columbus. Although it is affected by discharge from wastewater treatment plants and nitrate/nitrite runoff from today’s contemporary chemical agriculture, the Whetstone is still host to many species of darter, longear & pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegills, crappies, and both rock & smallmouth bass. The Whetstone’s banks are home to wildlife species ranging from five-lined skinks to river otter to bald eagles. Organizations along the watershed, like the Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA) & Friends of the Lower Olentangy (FLOW), work to protect & advocate for the river. Today, Caledonia citizens hope to see reinvestment in our local stretch of the Whetstone as a potential source of recreational river eco-tourism.