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Ducks Unlimited is working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy to improve vital coastal wetland habitat at Toussaint Wildlife Area in northwest Ohio’s Ottawa County.
The $3 million project will upgrade the wetland management infrastructure, which will restore and improve management of 125 acres of wetlands. Over the past several months, workers have renovated a section of the exterior levee along the Toussaint River and installed a new water-control and seasonal fish passage structure.
Phase I is funded by grants provided to Ducks Unlimited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Phase II will begin this year, using a grant from The Nature Conservancy, to renovate additional river levees and install a new pump and water-control structures.
The project is also funded as part of a $5-million contribution by Energy Transfer Partners in support of wetland conservation efforts in Ohio and Louisiana.
Toussaint Wildlife Area’s coastal wetlands are in the Maumee Area of Concern in Ohio. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) are locations having experienced environmental degradation. The areas have significant impairment of beneficial uses because of human activities.
Since most of Great Lakes AOC's are in coastal and riparian zones, the restoration and enhancement of wetlands in these areas is vital for fish and wildlife.