H2Ohio Wetland Completed in Paulding County

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) dedicated a new H2Ohio wetland in Paulding County on June 9 that has been restored to help prevent harmful nutrient runoff into the Maumee State Scenic River.

ODNR, in collaboration with the Black Swamp Conservancy, began restoration work on the H2Ohio Forder Bridge Floodplain Reconnection project in September 2020. The project reconstructed four acres of wetlands and two streams on the property to increase the natural uptake and assimilation of nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie.

“By allowing natural wetland processes to remove nutrients before they reach the Maumee River and flow into the Lake Erie, the project will help reduce the severity of algal blooms over the long-term,” said Governor DeWine. “The work happening now to create and restore these and other wetland areas will be a key factor to better water quality for future generations of Ohioans.”

“H2Ohio is making great strides toward cleaner water in Ohio, and I am so proud of our team for making that happen,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “We look forward to seeing the success of these wetlands through measurable reductions in runoff.”

“In addition to expanding habitat for rare and threatened species, the Forder Bridge project will reduce flood risks downstream and act as a natural filter for drinking water, helping to keep pollutants out of the St. Joseph River, the Maumee River and ultimately Lake Erie,” said Rob Krain, executive director of Black Swamp Conservancy.

Total cost of the project was approximately $513,000.

The Forder Bridge River Access site, which is a popular fishing spot and access point for canoes and kayaks, has reopened to the public. The site was closed during construction.

Forder Bridge is a 54-acre parcel that provides public access to the Maumee Scenic River in Crane Township.  Black Swamp Conservancy purchased the site in 2016 using funding from the Clean Ohio Program.  Shortly thereafter, a portion of the property was taken out of agricultural use and reforested with native tree plantings to improve water quality.

The Forder Bridge Reconstruction project is one of dozens of other wetland projects launched as part of the H2Ohio initiative, including the recently completed St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection and Saint Joseph River Floodplain Restoration projects in Williams County.

Other H2Ohio wetland projects currently underway include the Brooks Park Wetland Creation and Water Quality Initiative at Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County, the Oakwoods Nature Preserve East and Oakwoods Nature Preserve West in Hancock County, Redhorse Bend Preserve in Sandusky County, the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, the wetland area east of the Andreoff Wildlife Area in Wyandot County, and Sandusky Headwaters Preserve in Crawford 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.