COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A rare discovery in Alum Creek means there is good news regarding the water quality in an urban environment.

An Ohio Dominican University ichthyology class found a Tippecanoe darter inhabiting the waterway this summer, which flows through the campus, where the 1-inch long perch-like fish has not been seen previously.  Environmental science classes followed by this initial discovery and found more darters, along with a few other fish species.

Dr. Blake Mathys, who leads his science classes into the water to take a measure of stream quality by monitoring fish populations, was very excited about the finding.

“Our discovery of Tippecanoe darters in Alum Creek on Ohio Dominican’s campus is an encouraging sign that efforts to improve water quality are working,” Dr. Mathys says. “I never expected to find a Tippecanoe Darter in Alum Creek on Ohio Dominican’s campus; it’s a small fish, but it was a big surprise.

“This was a great opportunity for Ohio Dominican’s students to get to actually participate in the unexpected discovery of Tippecanoe darters in Alum Creek.”

Mathys notes that diverse fish species in a stream are critical indicators of water quality, and darters are especially sensitive to pollution, sedimentation and habitat changes.