Along the Maumee: Rotary Riverside Preserve

Thirty-five acres of mostly flood-prone farmland along the Maumee River near the North Turkeyfoot Wildlife Area in Henry County are about to be returned to natural habitats. Work is scheduled to start in June on this property that is full of potential.

Because the property lies along the main stem of the Maumee River, the Conservancy sees the likelihood of excellent new fishery habitat. Anglers can already catch Lake Whitefish and Freshwater Drum in this region. We’re hoping to enhance aquatic habitat that will allow for the reintroduction of native fish species that are in decline, including Pirate Perch or Blacknose Shiners. Our restoration design includes a deep-water pool (four to six feet deep) where fish could safely overwinter.

The site is mostly located within the Maumee’s floodplain, where we will be encouraging seasonal wetlands and restoring streamside forest. The trees of wet woods are home to a wide range of songbirds and raptors, and the floor of the woods is friendly breeding territory for salamanders and other amphibians known to already inhabit the property’s existing habitat.

Converting this property’s frequently flooded fields will help reduce erosion and reduce nutrients reaching the Maumee River and Lake Erie where they contribute to the growth of harmful algal blooms. This restoration design will capture runoff from nearby agricultural fields and hold that nutrient-rich water, filtering it through the soil where it will be taken up by trees and shrubs rather than flowing into the river.

We’ll also be planting thousands of trees, shrubs, native grasses and sedges. In addition to the H2Ohio program, which is funding the bulk of this project, we are pleased to be working with Rotary District 6600. The district, and 11 individual local Rotary Clubs, are providing funding to increase our planting budget to facilitate the planting of 6,600 trees on site.

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