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Project Highlight: Otter Creek Sediment Removal Project

After 20 years of exOtter Creektensive investigations of Otter Creek sediment, stream conditions, and ecological conditions, we are excited to share that the Otter Creek Project started last month. This project aims to reduce potential harm from exposure to chemicals accumulated in the sediment by reducing PAH and DRO exposure to organisms and ultimately redu
cing associated toxicity. This project will remove 1.7 miles of contaminated sediments in the Lower Otter Creek and mouth of Otter Creek into Maumee Bay. Approximately 57,000 cubic yards of contaminated will be pumped into the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority confined disposal facility, where it will remain indefinitely. 

A one-foot sand cover mixed with organic material will be placed in the creek after dredging to provide a barrier to any remaining residuals and a new surface for organisms to re-establish their populations. Some new habitat structures will also be placed along the lower mile of Otter Creek.

Check out our social media to see the project updates and videos from lead agencies. 

Sediment Projects on Website

We are excited to announce a new page featuring the sediment contamination projects within the Maumee AOC website. This section on the website will highlight BUI 6 (Degradation of Benthos). The projects to be highlighted will be the Lower Maumee River Sway Bridge (near old Chevron), Otter Creek, and Swan Creek, along with the previously completed Ottawa River sediment removal project. 

Other Ohio AOC Achievements: Ashtabula AOC - Delisting Process

Since the development of the Ashtabula River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Council in 1988, the Ashtabula started to address the 6 BUI’s of the Ashtabula. After years of work, the first round of removal of the BUI’s came in 2014 when three BUI’s were removed; this included BUI 1 Restriction on Fish and Wildlife Consumption, BUI 3 Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations, and BUI 14 Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. In 2018, the BUI 6 Degradation of Benthos was removed. 

Last year the last two BUIs, BUI 7 Restriction of Dredging Activities and BUI 4 Fish Tumors or Other Deformities, were removed. In October of 2020 the EPA announced, after 32 years, the Ashtabula AOC will be the first in Ohio to start the delisting process.

Sandhill Crane Wetland Highlight

280 SandhillCrane 1Just north of the Toledo Express Airport lies Northwest Ohio’s biggest wet prairie restoration project to date. The goal is to have 280 acres of critical wetland and upland prairie restored through this project. In tandem with restoring this landscape for sandhill crane populations and other wildlife, this project aims to provide flood retention, groundwater recharge, and nutrient storage. In attaining these goals, the project will contribute to reducing Beneficial Use Impairment 14b - Loss of Wildlife Habitat.

The Nature Conservancy partnered with Bowling Green State University (BGSU), the University of Toledo, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, and MAD Scientist Associates, LLC., to evaluate the site in preparation for restoration, including things like the hydrology, topography of the landscape, soils, flora, and fauna. Due to its past agricultural land-use, the tract had been extensively tiled. With the help of Dr. Kennedy Doro, they used ground-penetrating radar to locate the agricultural drainage tile.  

Specific restoration objectives include: 

  • Remove over 30 miles of agriculture drainage tile
  • Restore 900-acre-feet additional stormwater storage
  • Plant 7,000 native trees
  • Seed over 200 native species of plants 
  • Scrape over 50 acres to enhance shallow depressions for aquatic species and emergent vegetation and restore dunes

MAAC 2020 Annual Report to be Released Soon!

We are excited to share that work on the 2020 MAAC Annual Report will be available soon! The Report will be updated each year to showcase progress made towards eventual AOC delisting. Please consider requesting copies of the Report to pass out at the next applicable meeting or conference that you attend and share the digital version widely.

We are also working on crafting another series of “rack cards” to highlight and summarize four projects that were/are being conducted. Once completed, these cards will be available for distribution digitally and at meetings and conferences as well. Stay tuned for updates regarding the completion and availability of these new materials!

The Maumee AOC Committee works toward fishable and swimmable waters in the Maumee Area of Concern and delisting the beneficial use impairments. The Committee is working towards all major restoration projects being completed by 2025, through collaboration of partners and volunteer opportunities by its facilitating organization, Partners for Clean Streams. The committee is made up of representatives from various organizations, citizens, businesses and non-government agencies to build long term solutions to the area’s water quality issues.