Ohio

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 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — the Great Lakes.  A federal initiative, GLRI targets the most significant problems confronting communities in the Great Lakes basin:  degradation caused by invasive species, pollution and contaminants. 

The Nature Conservancy in Ohio has received funding through the program to restore, protect and maintain the health of Lake Erie

A significant component of the work in Ohio involves controlling invasive plant species, which are expanding rapidly throughout the Lake Erie basin.  Since the inception of GLRI funding, the Conservancy has worked with a wide range of partners to manage more than 10,000 acres of invasive plants.  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 second major component of the Conservancy’s GLRI projects focuses on habitat restoration in the Oak Openings and within Lake Erie’s coastal wetlands. 

These projects provide a wide range of services and benefits to both people and wildlife, including:

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


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has helped to fund the following projects since 2010:

  • Invasive plant control in the coastal wetlands of western Lake Erie

Manage invasive plants on more than 7,000 acres of coastal marsh within  four counties of western Lake Erie  to restore wetlands for fish and wildlife, increase access for recreation and improve water flow in wetlands.

Partners: Winous Point Marsh Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ottawa County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Contact: Tara Baranowski, Lake Erie Coast and Islands Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (419) 707-4242 or tbaranowski@tnc.org

  • Invasive plant prevention and control in the Grand and Ashtabula River watersheds in Northeast Ohio

Reduce invasive plants on 1,300 acres in the Grand River and 400 acres in Ashtabula River watersheds through integrated approach using early detection and rapid response, treatment and development of long-term management plans for these Central Lake Erie Basin watersheds.

Partners: Grand River Partnership, Ashtabula River Partnership, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; ODNR, Division of Wildlife; ODNR Division of Watercraft - Scenic Rivers Program; Geauga Park District; Lake Metroparks; Western Reserve Land Conservancy; Ashtabula Soil and Water Conservation District, Ashtabula Township Parks Commission; and numerous private landowners.

Contact: Karen Adair, Central Lake Erie Basin Projects Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (614) 717-2770 or kadair@tnc.org

  • Wetland restoration in the Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan

Restore more than 1,700 acres of globally imperiled Lake Plain wetlands in the Oak Openings Region. Three separate projects improved groundwater quality; captured, stored and treated spring runoff to reduce nutrient loading to the Maumee River and Lake Erie, and restored unique Oak Openings wet prairie habitat.

Partners: Toledo Metroparks, Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Divisions of Forestry and Natural Areas, Bowling Green State University.

Contact: Steve Woods, Oak Openings Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (419) 867-1521 or swoods@tnc.org

  • Great Lakes Green Breakwaters, Ashtabula Harbor

Create 200 feet of breakwater that provides common tern nesting habitat.  The Conservancy is assisting with monitoring and maintenance of Ashtabula breakwater tern nesting demonstration project that includes modifications to the breakwater to provide suitable nesting structure, substrate (gravel), decoys and audio calls, and predator deterrence features. 

Partner: Army Corps of Engineers

Contact: Karen Adair, Central Lake Erie Basin Projects Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (614) 717-2770 or kadair@tnc.org 

  • Coastal Wetland Restoration

Restore nearly 1,600 acres of critical coastal wetland habitats including improved water conveyance and control, aquatic connectivity and fish passage, and invasive species control in National Wildlife Refuges, State Wildlife Areas, and the Conservancy’s Great Egret Marsh Preserve.  These projects are reconnecting natural flow of wetlands to Lake Erie tributaries, and reducing sediment and nutrients, while improving wildlife habitat and water quality.

Partners:TNC, Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at Ottawa and Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuges

Contact:  Tara Baranowski, Lake Erie Coast and Islands Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (419) 707-4242 or tbaranowski@tnc.org

  • Restore rare habitats and manage invasive plants in Oak Openings Region

Restored habitat over 1,000 acres of rare natural communities and manage invasive species in the Western Lake Erie watershed on priority public and private lands of the Oak Openings Region in Ohio and Michigan. 

Partners:Metroparks of Toledo Area, Oak Openings Region Conservancy, Huron Clinton Metroparks, Olander Parks, University of Toledo, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (Division of Natural Areas and Preserves). Oak Openings Wild Ones, Toledo Naturalists Association, Lucas County Soil and Water Conservation District, Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy, other municipal park districts, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Black Swamp Conservancy, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Toledo Zoo and various private landowners

Contact:  Steve Woods, Oak Openings Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy. (419) 867-1521 or swoods@tnc.org

 

*Page last updated February 2016


 

 

 

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