As a part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, frequently flooded farmland has been transformed into nutrient-reducing wetland in Crawford County. Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) cut the ribbon at the Sandusky Headwaters Preserve Wetland and Habitat Restoration.
“This wetland and the dozens of others being developed by ODNR, are an incredibly important part of our plan for improving water quality across the state of Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “Over time, this Crawford County wetland will filter out algal-bloom-causing nutrients before they flow into the Sandusky River and travel to Lake Erie.”
ODNR Director Mary Mertz was joined by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and H2Ohio partners from the Crawford Park District to dedicate the wetland and take a tour of the 38-acre project.
The property is adjacent to the Sandusky River. Eighty-five acres of offsite drainage are now being re-routed into two wetlands before entering the river. Extra filtration is provided by vernal pools (seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals) that will capture runoff and floodwaters.
“The work being done by our H2Ohio team will lead to improved public health, job creation, and a sustainable economy,” Lieutenant Governor Husted said. “The efforts being made in projects like this are creating permanent solutions and providing people with new places to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”
Beyond the water quality improvements, the Sandusky Headwaters Preserve Wetland and Habitat Restoration will offer a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy nature, photograph wildlife, and enjoy programs put on by the Crawford Park District.
“The Crawford Park District is very appreciative of the opportunity to work with the ODNR on our H2Ohio project,” Crawford Parks District Director Josh Dyer said. “By creating critical wetland habitat, reducing nutrient loading into Lake Erie, and providing more trails for nature enthusiasts, Sandusky Headwaters Preserve is the first line of defense for protecting the Sandusky River Watershed, while providing passive outdoor recreational opportunities.”
The total cost of the Sandusky Headwaters Preserve Wetland and Habitat Restoration was just under $100,000.
Other H2Ohio wetland projects currently underway or completed include the Brooks Park Wetland Creation and Water Quality Initiative at Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County, the Burntwood – Langenkamp wetland in Mercer County. the Oakwoods Nature Preserve East and Oakwoods Nature Preserve West in Hancock County, the Forder Bridge Floodplain Reconnection in Paulding County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, the wetland area east of the Andreoff Wildlife Area in Wyandot County, the Fruth Outdoor Center Wetland Restoration project in Seneca County, the Redhorse Bend Wetland Restoration in Sandusky County, and the Tipp City Off-channel Wetland in Miami County.
H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring, and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Editor’s Note: High-resolution photos of the event can be found here.