Construction is set to begin this month to create streamside forests and wetlands on a 48-acre site along the Maumee River in Paulding County, which is part of Forrest Woods Nature Preserve. The Forrest Riverland project will expand habitat for birds, animals and fish while reducing nutrients and sediment entering the Maumee. The project was delayed while archaeological artifacts found in the area were investigated.
A records review during the planning of the Riverland restoration project indicated that an archaeological site had been identified on the property. The Conservancy’s Phase One Archaeological survey, conducted late in 2018, identified two additional sites, all containing a variety of artifacts, likely from the Late Woodland historical period (400 – 950 AD), scattered throughout the area. The property is believed to have been used as a seasonal encampment area. No human remains were found.
The restoration will return the property to a functioning floodplain with seasonal wetlands. A new stream channel will be created along an existing natural swale through the center of the property. The new channel will provide additional streamside habitat and excess water storage during flood events. Construction of the stream, beginning this month, should take a few weeks to complete.
Planting is planned for this fall to expand the streamside forest, and install plants and shrubs in the wetland areas. A total of 5,700 trees and shrubs will be planted, representing 16 species. As a result of the archaeological findings, trees will be planted by hand (to avoid disturbing any artifacts that may remain on the site). In addition, any trails or footpaths that may be developed in the future will be constructed above the plow line (which was where any artifacts were found).
The Conservancy will place signage near the area to describe the positive effects of wetland and stream restoration on water quality, and to tell the story of the property’s early inhabitants.
This project is funded through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Lake Erie Tributary Water Quality Restoration funds.