In honor of National Trivia Day on Jan. 4, 2018, I put together a list of fascinating facts about our local and state natural resources. You can celebrate Trivia Day through the richness and diversity that Ohio and Delaware County have to offer! In my opinion, learning cool things about our great state is much more satisfying and fun than making New Year’s resolutions. (In the interest of full disclosure, my track record with resolutions has been less than stellar.)
Ohio has 1,481 historic farm families, meaning they have been recognized as a Century Farm, a Sesquicentennial Farm, or a Bicentennial Farm by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Twenty of those farms are in Delaware County and the oldest of those harkens back to 1814. While much of Ohio’s farmland is dedicated to corn, soybeans, and wheat, we are surprisingly quite diverse. According to ODA, we are the seventh largest producer of wine and the ninth largest grape producer in the country. The Buckeye State ranks sixth in overall U.S. flower production and we are fourth in the number of barrels of craft beer produced per year.
Trees work for us. I know, that sounds crazy but it’s true. According to the Department of Energy’s computer modeling, the strategic placement of just three trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually. Delaware County has the biggest Eastern Cottonwood tree for the state measuring 380 inches in circumference. That is more than 31 feet around! We also boast Ohio’s biggest Eastern Redbud at 91 inches in circumference and a Black Walnut coming in at 211 inches. You can read more about Ohio’s trees at forestry.ohiodnr.gov.
A watershed is the land area that drains to a common waterway such as stream, river, lake, wetland, estuary, or ocean. Do you know the watershed in which you live? Delaware County is all considered part of the Scioto River watershed which stretches through 31 counties in central and southern Ohio and includes more than 6,500 square miles. The Scioto River connects to the Ohio River which then joins the Mississippi, eventually flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. In Delaware County, the Scioto can be further broken down into the Upper Scioto watershed, Olentangy River watershed, and the Big Walnut watershed.
We all know how important water is to our daily lives. We need it to sustain our bodies and grow plants and trees for use by people and animals. We use it to wash our clothes, prepare our foods, keep our houses clean, to produce power, and let’s not forget that we also use water for fun. What would a hot summer day be like without a sprinkler to run through or a paddle in a kayak on a shaded stream? We are so lucky here because we average about 38 inches of rainfall per year.
It’s not just dirt — Ohio has more than 400 types of soil. It takes Mother Nature 500 years to build an inch of topsoil. The Soil Survey of Delaware County, Ohio is a free resource which explains our various soils and their characteristics. Some soils are better than others to build houses with basements, for constructing a pond, for roads — all of this and way more can be found in the soil survey. Delaware County’s predominant soil is Pewamo, a silty clay loam. With adequate drainage, Pewamo is a very productive soil for growing a variety of crops.
Delaware County is interesting geologically. It is underlain by sedimentary rocks such as limestone, shale, and sandstone. We also have karst landforms which occur when the underlying rock, in our case, limestone, is dissolved by surface or groundwater. Olentangy Indian Caverns are a popular destination and an example of karst topography.
If you are like me, you get busy and take for granted the many natural treasures that surround us in our every day lives. I hope you can impress your family and friends with your new knowledge (and appreciation) for the natural resources of Delaware County and Ohio. For help with conserving these natural resources, visit our website at www.delawareswcd.org or stop by at 557 A Sunbury Road in Delaware. Happy New Year and remember to celebrate National Trivia Day.
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to www.delawareswcd.org.