When it Rains

Nature Academy

I have come to know Cincinnati for all its great things: Great Parks of Hamilton County, the Zoo, Museum of Art and an alive and bubbling downtown. I have also come to know the not-so-great things of Cincinnati: frustrating traffic, occasional flash floods and flooded basements.

If you have a home in Cincinnati that has a basement, I am sure you know the feeling when prolonged heavy rains roll into town. The thought always comes to mind, “How much water is going to be in my basement when I get home?” Saturday, July 6, was one of those days. Cincinnati was hit with over an inch of rain in a short period of time. Here at Sharon Woods we saw and felt it, and oh, did the creek flood!

Sharon Creek narrows in one area just below Sharon Centre, and when we get enough rain, water backs into the parking lot. What most people don’t realize is the animals that live in or near the creek end up going where the water goes. After the water starts to recede, some of those animals are left high and dry. Later that day the water did go down, and it was brought to my attention that there were a bunch of silvery things flopping on the parking lot pavement. A co-worker and I headed out equipped with a bucket and net. We gathered as many fish, mussels, crayfish and macro invertebrates as we could and carried them back into the creek. Hopefully most survived.

Due to human changes in the landscape — with more roofs, roadways and drainage — creeks flood more quickly and carry much more water than they used to. Parks provide needed floodplains and green space to slow the flow down and handle bigger volumes of water. So next time we have flash flooding and you check your basement, think of the animals and of the important streamside areas that our Great Parks provide.

Tess Jaeger, Naturalist