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Metroparks Meetup: Oak Openings Preserve wetland restoration

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 8:21 PM EDT
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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - Here in Northwest Ohio, we’re always keeping track of the algal blooms and restoration projects work to keep those blooms in check.

“Water is life. We know that water is life. Making sure that we improve our water quality is a large part of improving our human quality of life,” says LaRae Sprow, natural resource supervisor for Metroparks Toledo.

A spread of sandy soil sits on the corner of State Route 64 and Airport Highway in Swanton. From the road, it may not look like much, but behind the tree line, nature is blooming.

“In the state of Ohio, we’ve lost over 90% of our wetlands, so that’s a big number,” says Sprow.

Metroparks is working to restore those wetlands, which clean water naturally. The agency has already had success at Howard Marsh and is hopeful that the Swanton site can eventually be just as beautiful and effective.

The project is being funded by the H2Ohio initiative, which works to improve water quality by funding hundreds of restoration projects throughout the state.

“In Northwest Ohio, those projects are really geared at improving the water quality of the entire Lake Erie watershed. ... Algal blooms are a big concern. Lake Erie is a major economical resource. It’s a huge fishery,” says Sprow.

These former farmlands in Swanton may be twenty miles from the lake, but that’s where the runoff from these roads will arrive.

“If you follow the water, eventually it ends up in the Maumee River, and eventually into Lake Erie,” says Sprow.

Metroparks will be seeding the area in Spring, and this time next year, the site should be home to new wildlife.

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