Multi-million dollar projects will use nature to help clean local waterways

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - The Maumee River and Lake Erie are critical to the region from both an economic and a recreational standpoint. However, keeping the waterways clean has been a tough task in recent years.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources hosted a Wetland Tour Friday for lawmakers and community leaders. They rode to several potential project sites on board the Sandpiper.

The plan is to create new wetlands and restore others to help filter the water going into the lake. The sites include Cullen Park and Grassy Island.

Wetlands naturally help filter water and trap nutrients. They are described as the kidneys of waterways. According to the ODNR, a team of scientists from around the state will decide which mix of plants to use in each area to help filter the water.

There is no word on the exact cost of the projects yet, but it will be in the millions of dollars. Some of the work could start this summer. At least one of the projects will take a couple years to finish. The goal is to get some temporary projects in place to make a difference in the meantime.