Naming Streams


From: Bob Lentz []
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:49 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: [volmonitor] Stream Naming[Scanned]

I recently received a call from a landowner who is interested in naming his backyard stream. The county map does not provide a name and the neighbors can’t recall the stream having a name.

Does anyone know how to determine the official name of a stream and/or river?
Is it based on historical survey information?

If it is unnamed, how can it be assigned a name? Is this a function of the state, county, or local government? A local resolution or public notice process? Do you need a majority vote of
adjacent landowners if the stream is not entirely contained on one parcel or property?

I’ve Googled without any luck and the Ohio EPA and Ohio DNR don’t have any info on their website. I’d appreciate any info that can point me in the right direction.

Thanks for your help.

Bob Lentz
Storm Water Coordinator
Butler County Storm Water District
1921 Fairgrove Avenue
Hamilton OH 45011-1965
phone: (513) 785-4101
cell: (513) 678-6515
fax: (513) 867-5849


From: Steven Witmer []
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 10:00 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Stream Naming[Scanned]


Here is the website for the US Board of Geographic Names. If you go to the “Domestic Names” Link I believe you can navigate to their policies and procedures for naming features.

Steve Witmer


From: Angela McCracken []
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 10:02 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Stream Naming[Scanned]

For everyone–

We get this question often. Here is the official website…it walks you through how to “petition” USGS to name a stream (or any other feature). Click on Domestic Names and then Propose or Change a Name.

Have a good day!

Angela M. McCracken
Program Coordinator
Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers
610 North Third Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 234-7910, 3# – phone
(717) 234-7929 – fax


Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 08:30:17 -0500
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Stream Naming[Scanned]

There are some duplicate names in Illinois which leads me to believe it is at a more local level. Stormwater is our state is a county responsibility. As a member of the THorn Creek Ecosystem Partnership, I also have a few unnamed (intermittent steams) that have been buried or built over with storm sewers. It is important to retain the original grading to allow for major storm events that will exceed the sewers capacity.

We have streams named as tributary A, B, C, and tributary First, Second and Third. The names were applied in a clock wise direction around the main stream. I believe the Army Corps of Engineers and the County were involved in naming Third Creek as it is a diverted tributary of Deer Creek. Diverted directly to Thorn Creek via a massive storm sewer. The State may have been also involved as the Roads under which the Storm Sewers were located are maintained by the State.

FEMA also uses them on the Flood Plain Maps, so I guess you need USGS and EPA recognition.

Charles ‘Drainage’ Dieringer, Ed.D.

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