Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy this spring to safeguard Bloomfield Swamp, 730 acres of waterfowl habitat in Ashtabula and Trumbull Counties on the southern shores of Lake Erie, by acquiring the land and protecting it with a conservation easement.

The land will expand a large wetland conservation corridor that includes Ohio Department of Natural Resources' 9,000-acre Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area and the 7,600-acre Grand River Wildlife Area.

Russ Terry, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist in Ohio, said the new area of protected land builds on a strong region for migrating waterfowl. Unlike other parts of Ohio and the Great Lakes, much habitat in northeast Ohio remains undeveloped, for now.

"Northeast Ohio landscape is pretty intact, but development in the area is growing quickly," Terry said. "This lets us protect habitat through easements and helps keep them safe."

Bloomfield Swamp was protected with a portion of a North American Wetland Conservation Action grant Ducks Unlimited received in 2015. The grant provided $496,000 while the Western Reserve Land Conservancy offered about $1,124,000 as match.

More than 20 species of waterfowl have been documented on the property during breeding, spring and fall migration and wintering. This includes six species designated as Special Interest by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources: American black duck, redhead, northern shoveler, northern pintail, green-winged teal and gadwall.

Obtaining this land is the first step toward improving the habitat health of the region. The land conservancy's long-term goal is to restore the 2.7-mile Snyder Ditch which flows through the property and ultimately into the Grand River. The waterway will be transformed from a straight-line ditch to its historic sinuous, natural stream channel and reestablish connectivity of the stream with its floodplain and associated wetland habitat.