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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Most of the work in Ohio will involve control of invasive plant species, which are expanding rapidly throughout the Lake Erie basin. These invaders take over an area quickly, crowding out native plants, eliminating wildlife habitat, and sometimes changing the way water flows over the land and into the lake.

The Nature Conservancy and partner organizations launched in 2010 an ambitious three-year, large scale endeavor to restore important Great Lakes habitats along Lake Erie and its tributaries.

The effort will be paid for in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)—a federal initiative that targets the most significant problems confronting communities in the Great Lakes basin, notably degradation caused by invasive species, pollution and contaminants.

Benefits to people and wildlife include:

• Improved drinking water quality
• Restored wildlife habitat for native waterfowl, fish and migratory birds
• Increased opportunities for recreation—hunting, fishing, boating and birdwatching
• Improved waterways for commercial and sport fisheries
• Restored coastal marshes, interior wetlands, floodplains
• Protected groundwater resources

There are three Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Projects in Ohio:

1) Phragmites control in the coastal wetlands of western Lake Erie
• Manage invasive plants on approximately 2,000 acres of coastal marsh within western Lake Erie to restore wetlands, preserve fish and wildlife, increase access for recreation and improve water flow in wetlands.
• Partners: Winous Point Marsh Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, private lands, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Ottawa County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Contact: Tara Baranowski, Lake Erie Coast and Islands Project Manager. (419) 707-4242 or

2) Invasive plant prevention and control in the Grand River watershed of Northeast Ohio
• Reduce invasive plants on 600 acres in the Grand River watershed through integrated approach using early detection and rapid response, treatment and development of long-term management plan for the watershed.
• Partners: Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife, Geauga Park District, Lake Metroparks, and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Contact: Karen Adair, Northeast Ohio Projects Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (330) 687-2134 or

3) Wet prairie restoration in the Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio
• Restore 600 acres of wetlands in the Oak Openings Region. Success will be evaluated by changes in groundwater and other biological indicators.
• Partners: Toledo Metroparks, Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Divisions of Forestry and Natural Areas, Bowling Green State University.

Contact: Steve Woods, Oak Openings Projects Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (419)867-1521 or

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