COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources held a groundbreaking this week, commencing the Clark Island and Delaware/Horseshoe Island restoration projects.
Over the past several years, erosion has deteriorated the islands. Restoring the islands will help improve water quality by reducing nutrients and sediment in the Maumee River and Lake Erie.
“We have made it our mission to find innovative ways to improve water quality across Ohio, and this project is a prime example,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press release. “By restoring these eroded islands, more nutrients will be filtered out of the water, ensuring cleaner, safer water to drink and enjoy.”
The project, which is through the state's H2Ohio initiative, will use a process called sediment capture, which requires a reef structure to be built around the original island footprints. This will catch the sediment that flows down the Maumee River. The end goal is that the sediment will help build the islands back up naturally.
In addition to improving water quality, the reef will help reduce wave strength, which can help slow erosion along the river bank. ODNR said it will help form a more resilient habitat for wildlife, as well as enhance outdoor recreation opportunities.
“This grant will improve habitat for fish and wildlife, and will also improve recreation and ultimately boost the local economy,” EPA Great Lakes National Program Office Director Teresa Seidel said in a press release. “EPA is proud to build long-term relationships with our partner organizations to facilitate this community-led restoration work.”
ODNR is partnering with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority on the projects.
“The Port Authority is proud to partner with so many great organizations to help administer and now deliver these projects to our community,” Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President and CEO Thomas Winston said in a press release. “A healthy Maumee River and Lake Erie is important to all residents of this community, as this project will undoubtedly improve water quality and provide additional recreational opportunities for all.”
ODNR said H2Ohio has so far invested more than $8.7 million into the restoration projects, which includes the engineering, design work and construction.
“We are committed to protecting our water quality in Toledo. This investment benefits the health of the Maumee River, while also enhancing the quality of life for our community. I call that a win-win,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said in a press release.