Prairie Ditch Restoration at Secor Park: This 3,500-foot stretch of Prairie Ditch found within the Oak Openings region will see new instream and floodplain habitat for fish and benthos through regrading and dechannelization.
The project site is located on a 3,500-foot stretch of Prairie Ditch, north of the former National Center for Nature Photography, within the boundary of Secor Metropark. Secor Metropark includes over 600 acres of Oak Openings habitat and contains walking trails, a visitors’ center, and picnic areas.
Prairie Ditch at Secor Metropark is located within the Oak Openings region, widely regarded as one of Ohio’s most biologically diverse regions. One-third of the state’s rare plant and animal species are found within a region representing just 0.5% of Ohio’s total land. Human activities dramatically altered this region. This project’s primary goal is to improve habitat for fish and benthos of Prairie Ditch. Benthos are organisms that live in the sediment or near the bottom of a water body, making up the vital base of aquatic food systems. This restoration provides the following benefits:
- Fosters new instream and floodplain habitat for fish and benthos.
- Expands floodplains to reduce sediment load and agricultural runoff into Prairie Ditch, improving overall water quality within the Maumee Area of Concern.
- To restore approximately 3,500 feet of instream habitat.
- Stream improvements will include floodplain expansion, creation of streamside wetlands within the floodplain, riffle construction, and selective planting of native trees, shrubs, and other plants.
- Restoring natural curves to the waterway while creating shallower streambanks. These earthworks decrease the negative effects of past stream channelization.
- Ditch restoration designs include rock riffle features, which will become homes for fish and benthos.
- Bank stabilization prevents loss of sediment due to erosion, maintaining the character of the habitat for years to come.
- Removing woody invasive plant species opens up new areas for native plants to flourish.
This project is led by Metroparks Toledo, with funding provided by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through US EPA and by Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.