New wetlands at Sauder Village will help to curb and treat runoff water and establish natural habitats.
Sauder Village Wetland New wetlands at Sauder Village will help to curb and treat runoff water and establish natural habitats. © Sauder Village


TNC Partners with Sauder Village and Others to Construct Wetland in the Western Lake Erie Basin

Archbold, OH

February 2nd is well known for Punxsutawney Phil and his ability to ruin our hopes about winter leaving early. Most may not know, but World Wetlands Day was also February 2nd and in Northwest Ohio we’ve got something to celebrate.  

Sauder Village has been a historical resource for the surrounding communities of Archbold, Ohio for forty-two years and is looking to become a regional education and demonstration site for both productive agriculture and water quality conservation. After learning about the harmful algal blooms in Western Lake Erie Basin and needing a way to protect their historical assets from flooding, Sauder Village collaborated with Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Ducks Unlimited, and The Nature Conservancy to consider re-designing their land use master plan to include more natural “infrastructure” – areas that could capture, store and treat runoff water. When Sauder Village realized that these areas also could become recreational amenities for visitors and be used for education, they were all in. 

In 2018, Sauder Village applied for and received an Ohio EPA 319 Grant Program award that would enable them to dedicate thirty acres of their property to the creation of eleven acres of wetlands, three acres of oak savanna habitat, five acres of warm-season grass and wildflower areas, and nearly half a mile of recreational/educational trails.

Construction of the site started in summer 2018 and will continue to May 2019.  In early summer 2019, Sauder Village and the project partners will host a ribbon-cutting event and provide educational programs about natural habitats, productive agriculture, and managing flood risk as well as how they can all co-exist in the Western Lake Erie Basin.

In hopes of not only becoming an educational and demonstration centerpiece, Sauder Village is also excited that the project will provide habitat for a diversity of plants, insects, and wildlife. The wetland will serve as a restored ecosystem for rare species of birds, insects, and fish in a landscape that was once the Great Black Swamp. Walking trails will provide a great space for recreational outdoor activities and tourism for the surrounding communities.  As the wetland vegetation develops, it will slow the flow of water and filter nutrients leaving nearby agricultural land so that they will not enter the waterways and reach Lake Erie.  Now, that’s something to look forward to even if we have six more weeks of winter!

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.