Erie Conservation District

Pipe Creek

Pipe Creek is a 48.5-square-mile watershed made up of three main streams: Pipe Creek, Hemminger Ditch, and Plum Brook. Pipe Creek begins in Huron County east of Bellevue and empties into East Sandusky Bay near the Cedar Point Causeway. The lake shoreline is a mix of coastal marsh and heavily altered land use for shipping, boating, and erosion control. The watershed consists of approximately 41% developed land, 39% agricultural land, and 20% natural areas. Land use has changed drastically in the past 15 years with the conversion of 9,250 acres of agricultural land to residential and commercial purposes.

Pipe Creek is part of a karst geological region, which is characterized by a series of sinkholes and underground rivers flowing through cracks and cavities in the limestone bedrock. The unique geology of Pipe Creek makes it ideal for limestone quarry operations, but at a higher risk for potential groundwater pollution.

Key drivers

Pipe Creek’s water quality is affected by many types of land uses, such as urban development, agricultural row-crop and livestock farms, commercial and industrial areas, and limestone quarries. Large amounts of polluted run-off enter the stream in the upper rural portion of the watershed. However, aging infrastructure in older developments with combined sanitary and storm sewer systems adds sediment, nutrient, and bacterial pollution in the urbanized areas of the watershed. Heavier storms and loss of natural stream and wetland habitat have also reduced the stream’s ability to effectively handle the excessive flush of pollutants from rain events.

Increasing landowner stewardship to hold back, slow down, or soak in stormwater and reduce polluted run-off would greatly improve the condition of Pipe Creek.

2020 Pipe Creek Watershed Report Card

Find out more about the Ohio EPA Assessment of this watershed here.


Monitoring Sites at Pipe Creek

Bogart Road

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Campbell Street

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Columbus Avenue

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Harris Road

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Oakland Cemetery

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Patten Tract Road

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Perkins Avenue

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Strecker Road

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