Wetland Restoration Project underway at Middle Harbor

May 21, 2024 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has initiated a project to restore wetland vegetation across 300 acres of Middle Harbor in East Harbor State Park. The project began in April with a completion date later this year.

The Middle Harbor wetland restoration project includes dredging a channel from the center of the harbor to the outlet on the north side of the area to allow management of water levels. The dredged silt will fill a 5-acre area within the harbor and be contained by a silt curtain enclosure. Shallow water and emergent wetland plants such as arrowhead, bulrush and cattail will cover the dredged silt. The remainder of Middle Harbor will feature a shallow wetland seeded with millet, providing valuable wildlife habitat.

The water control structure is designed to allow wetland managers to manipulate water levels in the harbor to maximize vegetation growth. The structure will primarily remain open to the lake but can be closed during high water events. A carp screen in place during May and June will prevent nonnative common carp from entering and spawning in the restored wetland.

Much of the funding for the Middle Harbor wetland restoration project came from North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants. The restored wetland’s abundant and diverse vegetation will attract a diversity of duck and goose species and contribute to greater waterfowl hunting success. In addition to waterfowl, the area benefits hundreds of species of wildlife, including songbirds, wading birds, shorebirds and amphibians. Middle Harbor anglers may pursue excellent northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish fishing in the harbor upon completion of the project.

Governor Mike DeWine has made wetland restoration a priority in Ohio. Along with this project, ODNR has been leading additional wetland restorations through Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, which serves to improve water quality around the state.

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