ODNR Unveils New Wetland Project in Lucas County

As a part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz officially dedicated the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Reconnection project.

“Each wetland that the H2Ohio initiative enhances or reconstructs is another step toward better health for Ohio’s water,” Gov. DeWine said.  “Water quality is incredibly important for public health and community growth, and these projects will contribute to a strong economy for our great state.”

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge project will reconnect three wetland habitat units to Lake Erie through the Crane Creek Estuary.  The 580-acre project will reduce nutrients flowing into the lake by diverting excess water from farmlands through an aluminum water control structure.  The device controls the volume and depth within the wetland and also allows fish to enter the wetland.

“This project is a perfect example of how water quality and wildlife habitat can go hand in hand,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said.  “This wetland connection is ensuring clean water for future generations while continuing to provide space for wildlife to thrive.”

Director Mertz was joined today by H2Ohio partners from the Ottawa Soil and Water District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“By reconnecting these habitats, Lake Erie will be allowed to breathe again, using these vital wetlands in a more natural ebb and flow way that will provide something both people and wildlife need – clean water,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Regional Director Charlie Wooley said. “H2Ohio projects like this help us get closer to meeting our collective goal of reducing phosphorus and improving water quality in the western basin.”

The total cost of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Reconnection project was $600,000.

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, the Tipp City Off-channel Wetland in Miami County, and the Sandusky Headwaters Preserve Wetland and Habitat Restoration 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 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.

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Editor’s Note:  High-resolution photos from today’s event can
Be found here.

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