Surveying Tinkers Creek
Summer 2000


Tinkers Creek is not a big river, winding some 20 miles southeast from its confluence with the Cuyahoga only a few miles south of Interstate 480.  Its headwaters lie in Streetsboro, where Tinkers begins as not much more than a drainage stream to take runoff from local farms and residential yards. Therefore, although labeled a class 5 stream (the colloquial equivalent of a river), Tinkers resembles more a rambling brook for much of the year.  Downstream, however, after thunderstorms roll through, Tinkers easily becomes a river.  

 Although Tinkers is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga, this river has received little scientific attention as to its biota, and the quality of the water.  As an independent research project, Heather Griffith played an important part in the survey of Tinkers Creek, showing great patience surveying for freshwater mussels, and a willingness to get wet.  

Of the little information at hand is a survey by Daniela Smith of the molluscs that inhabit the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.  She surveyed the lower part of Tinkers, the stretch included in the park boundaries, yet found no mussels.  The deficiency of mussels there is surprising, because the previous summer (1999), Dr. Krebs found a number of species in the river where it flows through Twinsburg, and mussel shells are abundant along the banks of the river when water levels are low.

Mussels in the river

Lasmigona compressa                             Lasmigona costata

Lasmigona compressa 2 Lasmigona costata

Pyganodon (Anodonta) grandis

Pyganodon grandis

Fusconaia flava

Fusconaia flava

So far, in June 2000, only these four species have been found alive.  the presence of shells, however, indicate that others may occur, including, Alasmidonta marginatus, Strophitus undulatus and Lamsilis radiata

The questions that must be answered include: How abundant are these species? Where in the river is the habitat best? and How do people affect these mussels by altering their habitat?  Growth along the river has occurred at a phenomenal pace as Twinsburg has become a popular growth region for business and even commuters to Cleveland.