Muskingum River Watershed

Muskingum River watershedThe Muskingum River watershed is located in the eastern region of Ohio.  It drains a total of 8,051 square miles and flows through all or part of 27 counties.  Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Akron, Mt. Vernon, Mansfield, Marietta, Newark, Canton, Zanesville, Cambridge and Wooster.

The northern portion of the watershed is a mixture of urban development, agricultural land uses such as cultivated crops, and forest.  The southern portion of the watershed is predominantly comprised of forest, with some hay and pasture lands and pockets of urban development.

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Conotton Creek Watershed

Conotton Creek watershed

The Conotton Creek watershed is located in northeastern Ohio, a tributary to the Tuscarawas River.  The watershed drains 286 square miles.  Land use in the watershed is primarily forest with a mixture of cultivated crops and pasture and hay lands.  There are also several small areas of urban development.  Atwood Lake and Leesville Lake are located in the watershed.











According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2016.

There is no TMDL information available at this time.

There is no supplemental information available at this time.

There is no implementation information available at this time.


Killbuck Creek Watershed

Killbuck Creek watershedKillbuck Creek is located in northeast Ohio.  Killbuck Creek flows into the Walhonding River east of the Village of Warsaw in Coshocton County.  Killbuck Creek begins in Medina County, flows south through Wayne and Holmes counties, and flows into the Walhonding River in Coshocton County.  The most dominant land use in the watershed is forest (35%), followed by cultivated crops (29%), pasture/hay (22%) and developed or urban land (10%).  Larger municipalities include Wooster and Millersburg.  According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the wetlands in the Killbuck Creek valley comprise the largest complex of wetlands remaining in Ohio, away from Lake Erie.









The entire Killbuck Creek watershed was studied in 2009.  The watershed is divided into four subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040003 05        Headwaters Killbuck Creek
  • 05040003 06        Apple Creek-Killbuck Creek
  • 05040003 07        Paint Creek-Killbuck Creek
  • 05040003 08        Doughty Creek-Killbuck Creek

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2024.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.

Kokosing River Watershed

Kokosing River watershedThe Kokosing River is located in north central Ohio.  The Kokosing River joins with the Mohican River to form the Walhonding River near the Village of Walhonding in Coshocton County.  The counties of Ashland, Coshocton, Knox, Morrow and Richland encompass the watershed.  Land use in the watershed is dominated by row crop/pasture and forest.  Municipal areas include Fredericktown, Gambier and Mt. Vernon.











The entire Kokosing River watershed was studied during 2007, as part of the larger Walhonding River watershed.  The Kokosing River watershed is divided into four subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040003 01        North Branch Kokosing River
  • 05040003 02        Headwaters Kokosing River
  • 05040003 03        Schenck Creek-Kokosing River
  • 05040003 04        Jelloway Creek-Kokosing River

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2020.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.

Licking River Watershed

Licking River watershedThe Licking River watershed is located in central Ohio.  The Licking River flows into the Muskingum River in Zanesville in Muskingum County.  The watershed is primarily located in Licking County, with smaller areas in Morrow, Knox, Fairfield, Perry and Muskingum counties.  Land use in the watershed is predominantly comprised of 34% forest, 34% cultivated cropland, 17% pasture and hay, and 11% developed space.  Both Dillon Lake and Buckeye Lake are located within the watershed.  Newark obtains its drinking water from the North Fork of the Licking River.










The entire watershed was studied during 2008.  The Licking River watershed is divided into six subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040006 01        Headwaters North Fork Licking River
  • 05040006 02        Lake Fork Licking River-North Fork Licking River
  • 05040006 03        Raccoon Creek
  • 05040006 04        South Fork Licking River
  • 05040006 05        Rocky Fork-Licking River
  • 05040006 06        Big Run-Licking River
  • Licking River main stem (large river assessment unit)

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.

Mohican River Watershed

Mohican River watershedThe Mohican River watershed is located in north central Ohio.  The Mohican River joins with the Kokosing River to form the Walhonding River near Loudonville in Ashland County.  The Mohican River watershed is located with Ashland, Crawford, Knox, Morrow Richland, and Wayne counties.  Land use is dominated by row crop/pasture and forest.  Larger municipal areas include Mansfield, Ontario, Shelby, Ashland and Lexington.











The entire Mohican River watershed was studied during 2007, as part of the larger Walhonding River watershed.  The Mohican River watershed is divided into eight subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040002 01        Headwaters Black Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 02        Rocky Fork-Black Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 03        Headwaters Clear Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 04        Possum Run-Clear Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 05        Muddy Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 06        Jerome Fork-Mohican River
  • 05040002 07        Lake Fork Mohican River
  • 05040002 08        Mohican River
  • Mohican River main stem

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Moxahala Creek Watershed

Moxahala Creek watershedThe Moxahala Creek watershed, including Jonathan Creek, is located in southeast Ohio.  Jonathan Creek flows into Moxahala Creek, which flows into the Muskingum River near Zanesville in Muskingum County.  Moxahala Creek begins in Perry County and flows northeast through Crooksville to meet the Muskingum River in Muskingum County.  Jonathan Creek begins in Licking County and flows southeast to meet Moxahala Creek in Muskingum County south of Zanesville.  Overall, land use in the watershed is predominantly comprised of 55% forest, 22% pasture/hay, and 12% cultivated crop.  Both Maysville and Crooksville obtain their drinking water from streams in the watershed.








The Moxahala Creek watershed was studied in 2008.  The Moxahala Creek watershed is divided into two subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040004 04        Jonathan Creek
  • 05040004 05        Moxahala Creek

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The Moxahala Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on July 10, 2013.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for temperature as a surrogate for habitat alterations, alkalinity/acidity to account for acid mine drainage-related impacts, and bacteria.

Recommendations for regulatory action resulting from this TMDL analysis include water quality standards-based effluent limits for E. coli.  Nonpoint sources of E. coli, nutrients and dissolved oxygen issues should be addressed by home sewage planning and improvement; education and outreach and agricultural best management practices to reduce manure and fertilizer inputs to streams; investigating the possibility of removing a dam; and implementing some of the practices recommended in the AMDAT.  Nonpoint sources are typically addressed by voluntary actions.

TMDL Report without Appendices

A great deal of work has been done in the Moxahala Creek watershed to study the effects of acid mine drainage on stream water quality.  In 2006, completion of the West Misco Reclamation project reclaimed 48 acres consisting of coal refuse from the Misco Underground Mine originally placed as valley fill to a depth of 60 feet.

Reclamation included installation of a bentonite slurry wall between a 3-acre impoundment and the coal refuse to cut off the supply of groundwater infiltrating the refuse pile.  The work has substantially reduced the amount of AMD discharged into Bennett Run, a tributary in the Black Fork subwatershed.  See the Ohio Department of Natural Resources acid mine drainage abatement highlights Web site for further information.

Muskingum River (lower) Tributaries

Muskingum River (lower) tributariesThe Muskingum River (lower) tributaries are located in southeastern Ohio near the Ohio River.  The tributaries are comprised of five 10-digit hydrologic units:

  • 05040004 07        Meigs Creek
  • 05040004 09        South Branch Wolf Creek
  • 05040004 10        West Branch Wolf Creek-Wolf Creek
  • 05040004 11        Olive Green Creek-Muskingum River
  • 05040004 12        Rainbow Creek-Muskingum River

Land use in the tributaries watersheds is primarily comprised of forest, with a higher percentage of pasture and hay lands toward the west.  Urban development is focused along the Muskingum River main stem.



Wolf, Olive Green, Brush and Meigs creeks are located in southeast Ohio.  The streams’ entire watersheds are being studied during 2013.  The streams flow into the Muskingum River in Morgan and Washington counties.  The streams consist of five subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040004 07        Meigs Creek
  • 05040004 08        Brush Creek-Muskingum River
  • 05040004 09        South Branch Wolf Creek
  • 05040004 10        West Branch Wolf Creek-Wolf Creek
  • 05040004 11        Olive Green Creek-Muskingum River

In 2012, another subwatershed (05040004 12-Rainbow Creek) and a portion of 05040004 08-Brush Creek-Muskingum River were surveyed.  Results of the 2012 surveys will be reported with results of the 2013 surveys.

The study plan for 2013 is available below in the Supplemental Information tab.

There is no TMDL information available at this time.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Muskingum River Main Stem

The Muskingum River flows southeast through much of eastern Ohio, draining into the Ohio River near Marietta.  The main stem is one of the largest rivers in Ohio and drains thousands of square miles.  The main stem has multiple dams along its length.


The Muskingum River is located in southeastern Ohio. The main stem of the river from Coshocton to the mouth was studied during 2006.  According to the 2012 Integrated Report, the main stem of the Muskingum River will next be studied in 2018.

There is no need for a TMDL at this time.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Nimishillen Creek Watershed

Nimishillen Creek watershedThe Nimishillen Creek watershed is located in northeast Ohio, and drains 188 square miles.  Larger municipalities in the watershed include the cities of Canton, Louisville, North Canton, East Canton, and Green.  Row crop agriculture is dominant in the north and northeastern portions of the watershed.  The City of Canton and several industries are located in the center of the watershed; significant point source discharges include the Canton WWTP, Marathon Ashland Oil, and the Timkin Corporation.  Land development in the rural and undeveloped portions of the watershed is occurring at a slow rate.









Ohio EPA conducted a comprehensive physical, chemical and biological survey of the Nimishillen Creek watershed in 2003 and 2004, and several problems were identified.  Major causes of impairment are nutrients, bacteria, organic enrichment, flow alteration and degraded habitats.  Major sources of impairment include municipal and industrial point sources, urban runoff, home sewage treatment systems, and nonpoint source pollution and habitat degradation associated with farming practices and drainage improvements.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2017.

The Nimishillen Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on December 16, 2009, under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were prepared for phosphorus, habitat, and bacteria.  TMDL recommendations include:

  • total phosphorus limits for wastewater facilities discharging more than 100,000 gallons per day
  • agricultural conservation practices for abating sediment, nutrient and manure pollution
  • local health departments identify and address septic system failures and provide educational opportunities
  • stream setbacks, controls for subsurface drainage, less damaging channel maintenance, and stream restoration to improve or protect habitat quality

Ohio EPA first submitted the Nimishillen Creek TMDL report for approval in 2008 and U.S. EPA approved the TMDLs for sediment and bacteria.  They requested that Ohio EPA revise the report to clarify the discussion of phosphorus loadings.  After public review, the revised TMDL report was approved by U.S. EPA on December 16, 2009.  This report is the final approved version.

TMDL Report without appendices

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Salt Creek Watershed

Salt Creek (Muskingum River) watershedThe Salt Creek watershed is located in southeast Ohio.  Salt Creek flows into the Muskingum River near the Village of Philo in Muskingum County.  The watershed is home to more than 12,000 people.

The Salt Creek watershed is located entirely within Muskingum County and drains nearly 145 square miles toward the southwest.  Land use is predominantly comprised of 52% forest, 30% pasture and hay, 8% developed land, and 8% cultivated cropland.  The 322-acre Blue Rock State Park is located within the watershed, which includes a recreational lake.  The state park also obtains its drinking water from Manns Fork of Salt Creek.  Blue Rock State Forest is located near the park and includes over 4,500 acres of forest maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Duncan Falls is located on the east bank at the mouth of Salt Creek.





The entire watershed was studied during 2008.  Salt Creek flows into the Muskingum River near the Village of Philo in Muskingum County.  The Salt Creek watershed is comprised of one 10-digit hydrologic unit: 05040004 06, Salt Creek.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The Salt Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on June 6, 2011.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDL report without appendices

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Sandy Creek Watershed

Sandy Creek watershedThe Sandy Creek watershed is located in northeast Ohio.  Sandy Creek flows into the Tuscarawas River near Bolivar in Tuscarawas County.  The watershed is in Carroll, Stark, Columbiana, and Tuscarawas Counties.  Forty-two percent of the area is forested while pastureland and cropland accounts for twenty-three and twenty-two percent, respectively.  The remaining eight percent of the land area is distributed across other land classifications with developed land totaling seven percent.  Although located just to the south of Canton the Sandy Creek watershed has few towns and none exceeds a population of 4,000 people.









The Sandy Creek watershed was studied in 2010.  The watershed project area is divided into two subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040001 04        Little Sandy Creek - Sandy Creek
  • 05040001 06        Headwaters Sandy Creek

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2025.

The Nimishillen Creek watershed (05040001 05) is a tributary to Sandy Creek; however, it is not included in this assessment.  The Nimishillen Creek watershed was monitored in 2003 and 2004 and TMDLs have already been completed for the watershed.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Stillwater Creek Watershed

Stillwater Creek watershedStillwater Creek is located in eastern Ohio.  Stillwater Creek flows into the Tuscarawas River at Midvale in Tuscarawas County.  Most of the watershed is located in Harrison, Belmont, Guernsey and Tuscarawas counties; a small portion of the watershed is in Carroll County.  Land use in the watershed is predominantly forest (66%), pasture and hay lands (13%) and cultivated crops (8%).  Cadiz and the Twin City Water District both obtain drinking water from the surface waters in the watershed.










The Stillwater Creek watershed is being studied in 2012.  The watershed is divided into four subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040001 13        Upper Stillwater Creek
  • 05040001 14        Middle Stillwater Creek
  • 05040001 15        Little Stillwater Creek
  • 05040001 16        Lower Stillwater Creek

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2027.

There is no TMDL information available at this time.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Sugar Creek Watershed

Sugar Creek watershedSugar Creek is primarily a north-to-south-flowing tributary to the Tuscarawas River in the Ohio River drainage basin.  The Sugar Creek watershed drains 365 square miles in portions of Wayne, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Stark and Coshocton counties.  Sugar Creek begins near Smithville and also contains portions of the towns of Orrville, Sugarcreek, Dalton, Brewster, Strasburg, and Dover within its watershed boundaries.

The northern glaciated portion of the watershed is characterized by rolling hills and valleys whereas the non-glaciated portion has steeper topography with coal and clay deposits.  Forty-nine percent of the land cover is row crop agriculture while 18% and 28% constitute pasture and forest covers, respectively.  The remaining 5% includes urban, commercial, residential and open water and wetland.  Farms within Holmes, Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne Counties that incorporate the Sugar Creek watershed account for nearly 25% of the total milk production and 26% of the total number of dairy cows within the State of Ohio.



The Sugar Creek watershed was monitored by Ohio EPA in 1998.  According to the 2012 Integrated Report, the watershed will next be studied in 2017.

Ohio EPA has completed two TMDL projects for the Sugar Creek watershed:

  • Aquatic Life Use TMDL: approved by U.S. EPA on November 20, 2002
  • Recreation Use (Bacteria) TMDL: approved by U.S. EPA on May 8, 2007

Aquatic Life Use TMDL

The TMDL report was approved by U.S. EPA on November 20, 2002.  TMDLs identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment.

The original report was public noticed twice (February and December 2001).  The final report reflects comments made during both public comment periods.  The significant differences from the second draft of the report are:

  • the margin of safety discussion was expanded and clarified
  • added 2 tables with information about point source nutrient loads, and TMDLs normalized by drainage area
  • added graphics showing relationship between habitat and fish indices in this basin
  • Appendix D includes the comments from the second draft period as well as the first
  • additional information about existing watershed group activities

Final Report, complete report without appendices (September 2002)

Final Report, separate chapters (smaller downloads)

Recreation Use TMDL

A TMDL addressing impairments of the Aquatic Life Use was among the first TMDLs completed by Ohio EPA.  The Recreation Use impairment was known at the time, but methods to calculate a bacteria TMDL were largely undefined.  Ohio EPA collected additional data in this watershed between June and October of 2005.  The study confirmed impairment of designated Recreation Uses.  The primary causes of impairment are pathogens from livestock and sewage sources.

Some of the recommended solutions include excluding livestock from stream access, better manure management, establishing streamside buffers, facilitating stream-floodplain connection, using sediment and erosion controls and conservation tillage, better management of milkhouse wastes, improving performance of home septic sewage treatment systems (HSTS), and providing centralized sewer service for communities that demonstrate high failure rates of their HSTSs.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Tuscarawas River Watershed

Tuscarawas River watershedThe Tuscarawas River drains more than 2,500 square miles in northeastern and eastern Ohio.  The mainstem originates southeast of the City of Akron and flows for nearly 130 miles, then joins the Walhonding River to form the Muskingum River.  There are several large tributaries (Sugar Creek, Sandy Creek, Conotton Creek, and Stillwater Creek) that are or will be covered by their own individual TMDLs.  This TMDL covers the mainstem of the Tuscarawas River and several small tributaries including Chippewa Creek.

The upper portion of the watershed has significant urban, commercial and industrial development.  The southern and eastern portions are less populated with far fewer industries in a largely forested landscape that has steeper topography.  Pastureland and cattle operations are interspersed throughout the hills and forests as are some abandoned mine lands.  The distribution of land covers for the entire Tuscarawas River watershed is 34% forest, 31% pasture/hay, 19% cropland, 12% urban, and 4% open water.



Ohio EPA conducted a comprehensive physical, chemical and biological survey of the Tuscarawas River watershed in 2003 and 2004 and several problems were identified.  Primary causes of impairment are nutrients, sediment, organic substances and poor habitat quality.  Sources are waste water treatment plants run-off from agricultural landscapes and urban areas, channel modification, failing septic systems and acid mine drainage.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2017.

The Tuscarawas River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 15, 2009.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs are calculated for total phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, habitat and sedimentation.  TMDL recommendations include:

  • total phosphorus limits for four major and five minor wastewater dischargers
  • agricultural conservation practices for abating sediment, nutrient and manure pollution
  • local health departments identify and address septic system failures and provide educational opportunities
  • stream setbacks, controls for subsurface drainage, less damaging channel maintenance, and stream restoration to improve or protect habitat quality

TMDL Report without Appendices

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.

Wakatomika Creek Watershed

Wakatomika Creek watershedWakatomika Creek watershed is located in east central Ohio in parts of Knox, Licking, Coshocton, and Muskingum counties.  Wakatomika Creek is 42 miles long, beginning near the village of Bladensburg and entering the Muskingum River near Dresden.

The drainage area of the Wakatomika Creek watershed is 234 square miles.  The topography of the Wakatomika Creek watershed changes from rolling with hills and valleys in the west (glaciated) to steeper with an abundance of coal and clay deposits in the east (unglaciated).  Nearly 50% of the land cover is forest, while 33% is pasture and 17% row crop agriculture.








Ohio EPA surveyed the status of the water quality in 2003 and 2004.  While much of the watershed is attaining its designated Aquatic Life and Recreation uses, the study found impairment of both in some areas.  The primary causes of impairment are bacteria, sedimentation, habitat alteration, and high conductivity and solids.  Sources identified include livestock access to streams, septic systems, poor manure management, riparian removal, and mining.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2018.

The Wakatomika Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 28, 2006.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for bacteria, habitat, and mining parameters (iron, manganese, aluminum, and alkalinity).

Recommended actions include livestock exclusion and manure management; these actions will also reduce sedimentation and nutrient enrichment and will improve habitat.  Other recommendations include stream-side buffering, improving septic collection and treatment systems, and storm water management.  The field survey results suggest that substantial recovery of the mining impairments is ongoing, so additional implementation actions are not recommended.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Walhonding River Tributaries and Muskingum River Tributaries

Walhonding Tributaries and Muskingum TributariesThe Walhonding River and Muskingum River tributaries encompass multiple small tributaries that flow directly into the Walhonding and Muskingum Rivers in Holmes, Coshocton and Muskingum counties.  Land use in the watershed is dominated by forest (nearly 55%); pasture and hay land (19%); cultivated crops (13%); and urban and residential developed land (10%).  There is one municipality in the watershed that obtains its drinking water from surface water: Echoing Hills.  Communities fully or partially in the watershed include Coshocton, Zanesville, Nellie, Dresden and Conesville.









The Walhonding River tributaries and Muskingum River tributaries were studied in 2010.  The tributaries are divided into two subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 05040003 09        Mill Creek-Walhonding River
  • 05040004 03        Symmes Creek-Muskingum River

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2025.

The TMDL report is in preparation.

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Wills Creek

Wills Creek watershedThe Wills Creek watershed is located in southeastern Ohio and drains 853 square miles.  Wills Creek flows into the Muskingum River south of Coshocton.  The predominant land use in the watershed is forest, with larger concentrations of cultivated crop land and pasture and hay toward the western side of the watershed.  Municipalities in the watershed include Cambridge, Byesville and New Concord.  Senecaville Lake and Salt Creek Reservoir are both located in the watershed.










According to the 2012 Integrated Report, the watershed will next be studied in 2016.

There is no TMDL information available at this time.

There is no supplemental information available at this time.

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.