ODNR, University of Toledo Break Ground on New H2Ohio Project

The project will restore wetland and stream channels for more effective water quality filtration.

As part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the University of Toledo held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a new project to restore wetland and stream channels.  The University of Toledo Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement (CADE) project will improve the flow of water to filter runoff more effectively before it enters the Ottawa River and eventually Lake Erie.

“We’re putting a great deal of focus into protecting our greatest natural resource, Lake Erie,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Keeping this Great Lake healthy means cleaner drinking water, better recreation, and an opportunity for future generations to enjoy what Lake Erie has to offer.”

ODNR joins the University of Toledo to break ground on the new H2Ohio project.
Crews will install stream enhancement structures, such as log barriers, to allow the water to pool in floodplains longer before flowing out to the river. Further excavation and repair work to the banks of the channel will also prevent erosion.

“Restoring these stream channels will harness the power of the wetlands’ natural filtration system,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “This project demonstrates the true value of H2Ohio, where we can jump in and take action to keep Lake Erie and its tributaries clean.”

The University of Toledo was awarded an H2Ohio grant of $2,229,188 in 2022 for the project, which will also lower the floodplain elevation and remove invasive vegetation.

 ODNR Director Mary Mertz talks about the importance of this new H2Ohio project.
“H2Ohio is an important and ambitious initiative, and we are pleased to take an active role by dedicating a part of our campus to wetland restoration,” University of Toledo President Gregory Postel said. “The CADE Wetlands Restoration Project strengthens our commitment to research that protects and improves water quality in northwest Ohio.”

 A group takes a tour of the UT CADE site.
Governor Mike DeWine created H2Ohio in 2019 as a comprehensive, data-driven approach to combatting algal blooms, enhancing water quality, and improving water infrastructure over the long term. H2Ohio operates in partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The initiative focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring, and enhancing wetlands, upgrading outdated water infrastructure, and replacing lead pipes. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, 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.