FREMONT — As part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), in partnership with Black Swamp Conservancy, is transforming 54 acres of frequently flooded farmland located along the Sandusky River into a public nature preserve that will benefit the people and environment of northwest Ohio.
“It’s great to see the progress we’re making in just the first year of the H2Ohio initiative,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “The work of ODNR and other partners to create more wetlands is essential for improving the water quality for future generations of Ohioans.”
“We are making great strides toward improving Ohio’s water quality through H2Ohio,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “This new site in Fremont will be more than environmentally efficient, it will be a beautiful place for people to really enjoy nature.”
The site will become a natural, functioning floodplain with wetlands, meadows, and woodlands that naturally filter nutrient pollution from water flowing into the river, Sandusky Bay, and ultimately, Lake Erie. The Preserve will also create diverse wildlife habitat and offer Fremont residents and visitors new ways to experience nature.
“The Redhorse Bend Preserve will give people a unique opportunity to experience the awesome beauty, wildlife, and ecosystem services provided by a natural northwest Ohio floodplain,” Executive Director of the Black Swamp Conservancy Rob Krain said. “Imagine hiking, fishing, paddling, or birdwatching in a place you know is also helping to make our waterways cleaner and protect Lake Erie.”
H2Ohio and Black Swamp Conservancy broke ground on November 9, 2020. Work will include enhancing the habitat within 28 acres of existing seasonal floodplain wetlands as well as planting 20 acres of native prairie species and 5 acres of riparian forest. The $976,000 preserve is expected to be completed and opened to the public sometime starting in 2022. It will be managed by the Sandusky County Park District.
This project joins several other H2Ohio wetland projects underway right now including the Forder Bridge Project in Paulding County, the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection in Williams County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, and the new wetland area east of the Andreoff Wildlife Area in Wyandot County.
H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov.
Black Swamp Conservancy is a land trust dedicated to protecting agricultural land and natural areas, now and for future generations. The Conservancy does this to preserve the heritage, habitats, and waters of northwest Ohio. Since its founding in 1993 the organization has permanently protected more than 19,500 acres of wetlands, woods and working lands across northwest Ohio.