I have seen sources that claim that the Scioto River has its absolute beginnings in Auglaize County. As close as the county line is, it may be that during heavy rains some water enters the system from across the county line. But near as I could tell, on the ground, the river as a discernable entity begins right here.
It's ugly. Agricultural drainage efforts have turned our (arguably) most majestic stream system that exclusively belongs to the Buckeye State into a steep-sided drainage ditch. Note the algae, a legacy of massive phosphorous input from surrounding ag fields.
I sometimes wonder what our streams and water quality would be like today if our ancestors had had more foresight about land use practices that benefit everyone. What if, at statehood in 1803, our first governor, Edward Tiffin, declared that no one could plow, develop or otherwise alter the land within 75 feet of a stream of any size? My hunch is our water quality would be vastly better than it is today. Everyone lives downstream, and all people would be the beneficiaries.
This photo was made during a heavy flood event, and the river is swollen out of its banks. The southern reaches of the river, especially, are notable for regular flooding events. But northerly portions of the stream are certainly not exempt from high water. The famous flood of 1913 laid waste to much of downtown Columbus and took many lives.
Most springs, anywhere from late February into April, this area floods on an epic scale. The effect is of a large lake and sometimes the water gets high enough to flood surrounding roads. As the flooding coincides with peak northward waterfowl migration, the numbers and diversity of ducks can be staggering. I have seen nearly every regular species of duck - divers and dabblers - in a single day, and many of those species in huge numbers. Scads of truly wild migratory Canada geese, too.
It would be amazing if someday wildlife refuges could bookend Ohio's longest river: the genesis, and terminus. The Scioto headwaters in Hardin County flow from a 16,000 acre region once known as the Scioto Marsh. Just like the area in the above photo, the Scioto Marsh must have been incredible for fowl and other wildlife before it was destroyed.
Nature can be forgiving, and we have learned repeatedly that restoring former wetlands, prairies and river corridors quickly bears fruit.