The workday starts early at the Conservancy’s new Clary-Boulee-McDonald Nature Preserve along Wolf Creek in Seneca County. Just after first light, heavy machinery starts moving, working to sculpt the landscape back to natural conditions. This earthwork began in June, after a lengthy process of site assessments, engineering design and permitting, – and there is still a lot left to do.
“This is the most dirt [we’ve] ever moved on a single project” says Kevin Pivato, field foreman for River Reach Construction, the Conservancy’s restoration contractor for the project.
It is, in fact, a huge project. We are restoring 100 acres of former farmland back to natural habitat. Once completed, the property will have seven new wetlands and five recontoured floodplain channels. We will be reforesting three distinct areas and creating two pollinator prairies.
These newly created habitats, along with the mature forest already on the property, will create a rich and diverse area for local wildlife. The property’s new wetlands and floodplain channels will retain water on the landscape, helping to reduce flood risks and absorb nutrients before they reach Lake Erie.
Ultimately, the property will provide a new space in the community for outdoor recreation and nature education. Once the restoration work is complete, the Conservancy plans to gift the property to the Seneca County Park District, which will operate it as a public park.
So far, we’ve completed two wetlands and one of the floodplain channels, and two more wetlands and another floodplain have been excavated and are ready for seeding.
Within the next two weeks, we’ll have finished all the work in two of the three fields, and the entire project should be completed by late September 2022.