H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination. The Ohio General Assembly invested $172 million in H2Ohio in July 2019. The program’s efforts are statewide with an initial emphasis on the Western Lake Erie Basin, specifically within the Maumee River Watershed.
One targeted solution in the plan is to help reduce phosphorus runoff and prevent algal blooms through the creation of wetlands. Wetlands absorb pollutants, offering a natural filtering process. They slow down the movement of water, managing flooding, and offer recreation opportunities. Two of the initial H2Ohio-funded projects are located in the Hancock Park System.
Oakwoods Nature Preserve Wetland Restoration Project (East)
Most of this project’s existing agricultural lands will be converted into wetlands and the remainder is to be developed as native prairie. The work includes restoring natural hydrology to the landscape by decommissioning agricultural field tiles and diverting that water flow through wetland treatment areas. These wetlands also will serve to treat runoff from nearby active agricultural lands.
Project size: 65 Acres
Oakwoods Nature Preserve Wetland Restoration Project (West)
This project improves water quality by taking agricultural lands out of production and creating or restoring wetlands, woodlands, and prairie. Aurand Run traverses the project area and will be reconnected to its floodplain, allowing nutrient-rich streamflow to be treated through three acres of riparian wetlands. Other project efforts include decommissioning subsurface drain tiles, enhancement of degraded riparian habitat along Aurand Run, and restore a buffer to protect 15 acres of an existing high-quality forested wetland.
Project size: 77 Acres