COLUMBUS – Some experts say Ohio has lost more than 90 percent of its original wetlands in the last 200 years. But a partnership between state and federal agencies and Ducks Unlimited has helped restore more than 3,000 acres of wetlands across the Buckeye State in the last decade.
According to Luke Miller, a project administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife, the division’s Wetland Restoration Program offers funding to cover 50 percent of wetland restoration costs. Up to $500 per acre restored is available to landowners willing to maintain the site for up to 10 years. Under a 20-year agreement, up to $1,000 per acre is available.
The program is funded through the sale of Ohio Wetland Stamps and through Ducks Unlimited MARSH funds. In fiscal year 2001, approximately $200,000 is available through the program in Ohio.
Since 1991, the division has established 392 agreements to restore 3,028 acres of wetlands, Miller said.
In addition to funding, the division also provides technical assistance to design the wetland project. Additional cost-share funding may be available through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Information is also available through the state’s local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service local offices.
Although the program is offered statewide, applications are prioritized through guidelines in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which emphasizes habitat critical to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.