DU, Ohio partner for new wetlands

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and ODNR Director Mary Mertz unveil the new Andreoff acquisition Oct. 8.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and ODNR Director Mary Mertz unveil the new Andreoff acquisition Oct. 8.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited today to announce the development of a new H2Ohio wetlands project in Wyandot County. The wetlands will be located near the Andreoff Wildlife Area in the headwaters of the Blanchard River which ultimately flows into Lake Erie.

“We’re excited about these new wetlands because they’ll help naturally improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, like phosphorus, from the water before they flow into Lake Erie and contribute to harmful algal blooms,” said Governor DeWine. “One of the long-term goals of the H2Ohio initiative is to prevent algal blooms on Lake Erie through projects like this.”

“Inland wetlands are essential to improve water quality in Ohio,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “This property sits at the headwaters of the Blanchard River, and these new wetlands will help reduce the amount of sediment that enters the watershed. Ducks Unlimited is a recognized leader in wetland conservation, and we look forward to working with them on this vital water quality initiative.”

H2Ohio funding was granted to Ducks Unlimited to purchase 278 acres in Wyandot County directly to the east of Andreoff Wildlife Area where the new wetland complex will be built. The wetlands will utilize drainage from surrounding agricultural fields as a water source. This water will feed into the wetlands via a system of pumps and tiles designed to control flow for maximum nutrient and sediment reduction.

“Clean water is at the core of healthy wildlife habitats and the good health of Ohio’s residents,” said Jamie Rader, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. “Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan will ensure people, ducks, fish, and wildlife have clean water for generations. Ducks Unlimited appreciates his leadership and the opportunity to work with Ohio DNR Director Mertz to utilize H2Ohio to restore and protect Ohio’s crucial wetland habitats.”

In addition to their water quality benefits, wetlands provide excellent wildlife habitat for uniquely adapted plant and animal species, many of which are considered in peril. The public, including birders, anglers, and waterfowl hunters, will have access to this property once wetland construction is complete, as part of the Andreoff Wildlife Area complex.

This wetland project joins several others that already have broken ground as part of the H2Ohio initiative including: the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection in Williams County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, and the Forder Bridge Floodplain Reconnection in Paulding County. The H2Ohio initiative currently has 26 wetland projects underway. These projects are being completed in collaboration with the Black Swamp Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and various county and metropark systems, among other partners. 

H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov