Middle Harbor is a 350-acre coastal wetland located on the Catawba Peninsula in Lake Erie. This site is owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Parks and Recreation and managed as part of East Harbor State Park. Disconnected from the lake's historic tidal influences by shoreline development, this wetland basin has over time become almost completely devoid of vegetation and is currently of little value to waterfowl and other wildlife.
In an effort to bring this valuable wetland back to its former productivity, Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Ohio DNR's Parks and Recreation and Wildlife divisions to secure a $643,397 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to restore tidal flows between Middle Harbor and Lake Erie. DU engineers recently completed a topographic survey and designed a water-control structure that will allow Ohio DNR staff to draw down water levels to stimulate the growth of beneficial vegetation for waterfowl and other wildlife. This structure will also allow for daily and seasonal fluctuations in lake levels and fish passage in and out of the wetland.