New tools, better habitat in northwest Ohio

Ducks Unlimited has enhanced 460 acres of coastal wetland at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

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Photo © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Adding new wetlands for waterfowl is important, but maintaining wetlands they already use is equally critical for a healthy migration and population.

Ducks Unlimited has enhanced 460 acres of existing managed coastal wetland in Ohio at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. The project reconnected the wetlands with Crane Creek and restored natural water flow with Lake Erie.

The project replaced outdated infrastructure and added new pieces, including pumps, water-control structures and a fish passage.

The previous tools prevented refuge managers from effectively controlling water levels, meaning they couldn’t replicate the natural raising and lowering of water levels. With the new infrastructure, Ottawa managers will be able to provide the best environment for natural vegetation and food sources.

This project, located in Ducks Unlimited's Great Lakes Initiative region, was funded through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to The Nature Conservancy by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

This is the latest effort at the refuge. DU has improved, engineered and constructed nine other wetland projects at the refuge between 2013 and 2016, improving nearly 2,370acres. These projects provide improved habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife, and spawning and nursery areas for important fish species such as northern pike.