C. J. BROWN RESERVOIR
Location and Directions
C. J. Brown Reservoir is located in Buck Creek State Park at the northeast corner of Springfield, about 37 miles northeast of downtown Dayton. From the intersection of I-75 and US 35 in downtown Dayton, take I-75 north 1.9 miles to SR 4, then go right (northeast) on SR 4 for 10.2 miles to I-70. Turn right (east) onto I-70 and go 11.3 miles to US 68, then left (north) on US 68 for 6.6 miles to SR 334. Turn right (east) onto SR 334 and go 3.8 miles to SR 4, then right (south) onto SR 4 and go 1.9 miles to Croft Road. Turn left (east) onto Croft Rd. and go 0.5 miles to Overlook Drive, then turn left (north) onto Overlook Drive and go 0.9 miles to the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center. Or continue on Croft Road 0.5 miles past Overlook Drive to Robert Eastman Road and turn left (east). Follow Robert Eastman Road 1.0 miles until it deadends at Buck Creek Lane. Turn left (north) onto Buck Creek Lane and go 0.1 miles to the Buck Creek State Park entrance and office.
Area Description and Habitat
Clarence J. Brown Reservoir is a deep-water lake of 2,120 acres, and not only provides deep water for migrating waterfowl, but also seasonal mudflats and extensive shoreline habitat. The reservoir is located in Buck Creek State Park, and the nearly 1,900 acres of park land surrounding the lake provide additional habitats including grasslands, fields in succession, decidious woodlands, and a large sand beach at the east end of the dam. Old Reid Park, containing a series of small lakes, is located along Croft Road west of the dam. Northeast of the lake, along Yeazell and Hodge Roads, is an agricultural area planted with tall grasses.
C. J. Brown Reservoir can be an excellent place to observe migrating waterbirds in both spring (particularly March and April) and the fall/winter months (provided there is open water during the winter). Waterfowl sometimes occur in large flocks and include most migrant ducks found in west central Ohio. In drier years, there may be extensive mudflats at the north end of the lake, which attracts many species of shorebirds. The beach area often attracts shorebirds (plovers), gulls and terns, and many varieties have been found along the beach, particularly during "off-seasons".
Old Reid Park supports a large population of domestic ducks, which sometimes attracts wild ducks as well.
The long-grass agricultural fields northeast of the lake are often a great place to find grassland species including Dickcissel, Bobolink, and Savannah, Vesper, and Grasshopper Sparrows. Late May/early June, before the hay fields are mowed, is best for finding these birds.
Many rarities have been found in the area, including American White Pelican, Eared Grebe (in fall), Upland Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Laughing and Franklin's Gulls, Sedge Wren, and Bell's Vireo.
CJ Brown Reservoir was designated an Ohio Important Bird Area by Audubon Ohio in 2002. A bird list is available at the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.
Facilities and Other Information
Swimming, boating, and fishing are popular activities at the lake, supported by a 2,400-foot swimming beach, a boat-launching ramp; and a marina which provides fuel, snack bar, bait shop, and seasonal dock rental (available on a lottery basis). Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted. Hunting is allowed in designated areas.
The State Park has a modern campground with 111 campsites, of which 89 have electricity. Campground facilities include showers, drinking water, flush toilets, coin laundry facilities, and a sewage dump station. There are also 27 reservable cottages for rent in the park.
There are 7.5 miles of hiking trails. Public telephones are available. Picnic areas are available with shelters, tables, and grills.
Information brochures and maps are available at the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center and the State Park Office.
Additional information can be found at Buck Creek and US Army Corps of Engineers.