More H2Ohio projects completed in western Ohio

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ODNR Director Mary Mertz joins Otsego Schools and Black Swamp Conservancy for a ribbon cutting at the new wetland. (Submitted photo)

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — As part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative, students will have the unique opportunity to learn about ecology and water quality at a restored wetland in northwest Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources joined the Otsego Local School District and the Black Swamp Conservancy Oct. 2 for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the Otsego Schools’ Fox-Shank Living Laboratory Project.

The project restored 16 acres of previously farmed land in Wood County. The result boasts two and a half acres of riparian, or wooded, habitat and eight acres of wetland habitat. The wetland will help capture runoff, including the nutrients that fuel the growth of harmful algal blooms, within the 13 square miles of watershed.

Black Swamp Conservancy worked with Otsego Local Schools to restore the previously farmed area into a wetland and the conservancy plans to transfer the site to the district. The final cost of the project was $443,000.

Toledo project

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the University of Toledo recently held a ceremony for a new project to restore wetland and stream channels. The University of Toledo Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement project is part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative that seeks to improve the flow of water by filtering runoff before it enters the Ottawa River. In 2022, the University of Toledo was awarded an H2Ohio grant of $2.2 million for the project.

Part of the project will include installing stream enhancement structures, like log barriers, to enable water to pool in floodplains longer before flowing into the river. Crews will also repair banks of the channel to prevent erosion, as well as lower floodplain elevation and remove invasive vegetation.

The H2Ohio Initiative is approaching the four-year mark. In that time, ODNR has restored 15,000 acres of wetland and other water resources. Through these projects, the initiative has filtered more than 110,000 acres of watershed along with the planting of 85,000 trees. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, visit h2.ohio.gov.

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