Drained 1-2 M. Acre Great Black Swamp and much of 5 M acre Maumee River watershed Yellow on map is range of wetlands from record high annual to record low annual avg. = “no place to go”
We decided to take advantage of this opportunity through funding from GLRI –project 12
As a test case for this new approach to wetland restoration and management, the Middle Harbor Project was proposed and accepted by GLRI in year one.The project is an adaptation of an idea to increase hydrologic exchange originally proposed by the Ohio DOW Fisheries Section, and referenced in the Lake Erie LamP.
MANY REASONS TO JUSTIFY RESTORATION …….. higher quality waters are Lake Erie, East Harbor, and West Harbor
* Who gets to determine the conditions that define high quality coastal marsh? In this case Ohio DNR!
Official presentation end slide, as well as the ballroom slide.
Roy KrollDucks Unlimited, Inc.Great Lakes / Atlantic Regional OfficeAnn Arbor, MIGLRI Coastal Wetland Restoration Success StoriesAdaptive methods to restore Lake Erie hydrologyand coastal marsh at Middle Harbor, Ohio
Lake ErieMiddle HarborSediment plumesfrom clay soils
Lake Erie coastal wetland extent = Lake Erie water levelsLake Erie water levels fluctuateover various time periods• Short - stormwater & seiches*• Medium : annual and seasonal• Long: multiple years or decades*Seiches – wind induced water level changesNortheast or Southwest windsCommon - 3 ft. in 24 hrs.Record - 8 ft. (12-14 ft. waves)Seiche effectOhio.gov
• Deforested, channelized andtile-drained landscape• Agricultural and municipalflood-control dikes• Introduction of carp- increased turbidity• Geologic subsidence andsteep hydrological gradientLandscape-level factors and L.E. coastal wetland extentMitsch & Wang 1998
Impacts of landscape alterations:Landward migration blocked –high water years = wetland lossTo sustain emergent marshes -dikes, pumps, pipes, & water level control wasrequiredEcological benefits - mainly in impoundments
Events affecting coastal marshes inSouthwest Lake Erie basin, 1860-1970Private land –subsistence &duck huntingclubsGreat BlackSwamp isdrainedfarmlandFloodprotectiondikes –restrictlandwardadvance1970: Ecological shortcomings publicized• fisheries focus (e.g., Northern pike)1940: Diked marshes common in SWLE1950: Science-based wetland management• waterfowl focus, state/fed acquisitions
Nearly 30 years of high water & NE storms eliminated most coastal wetlands includingthose protected by dikes, and launched an era of intensive wetland restoration.Currently, 95% of SWLE coastal wetlands are essentially impounded.
Lake levels at or below long-term average for 12 years demonstrated that naturalreestablishment of diverse wetlands did not occur on a substantive scale in SWLE.• largely prevented by invasive species colonization (i.e., Phragmites)However, new opportunities exist for increasing ecological functions of dikedmarshes, because at many sites current lake levels will sustain aquatic macrophytes.• potential exists to install structures that restore Lake Erie hydrology and maintaindesired emergent marsh plants.
Need for Restoration• Large wetland (350 acres)• Little/no aquatic vegetation• No hydrologic exchange• Adjacent to higher-quality waters• Turbid, shallow (< 3 ft.) water• No dike construction requiredMiddle Harbor
Middle Harbor(East Harbor State Park)Construction of water conveyanceand control structure including aremovable pump350 acres of marsh will berestored and open to fish passageFunded by $643,397 NOAA grantwith $31,200 Ohio DNR matchStructurelocationLake Erie
Adapting old restoration & managementtechniques to provide broader ecosystem benefits1. Design and build the structure(DU engineering)2. Establish the wetlandplant community (2 years)3. Open the gates to restoreLake Erie hydrology4. Monitor everythingMiddle Harbor ProjectLong term goal: Lake Erie hydrology sustaining high quality* coastal marsh
Structure is versatile and adaptable from a marsh management perspective• Options: full open flow, carp screens, stoplogs, flapgate, screwgate, and pumping
Middle Harbor and Erie Marsh Joint Biological Monitoring Program(Pre- and Post-Construction)Water quality sampling: DO, conductivity , pH, temp., etcSpecies abundance & diversity for:• Vegetation: transects and point counts (VIBI)• Fish: larval tows, trap nets, electrofishing (PSD, IBI)• Herps: calling surveys, ground surveys• Birds: calling & visual surveys, transect and point countsTable 1 – Middle Harbor (MH – Project Site) compared to East Harbor (EH – Control Site) – July 2011Common Name Final Count Total Deformities Total Tumors NotesMH EH MH EH MH EHGizzard shad 772 87 1 1 Same fish with 2 anomaliesBrook silverside 5 326 3Emerald shiner 20 388Alewife 11 34 1Bluegill 18 215 1Largemouth bass 3White crappie 3White perch 1Unknown clupeidae 1 Larvae decomposed cannotidentify to speciesTOTAL COUNT 834 1,050 1 5 1 0
Middle Harbor Wetland Establishment Schedule2012-2013• Winter/spring: Gravity de-watering using open flows & seiche events• Late spring: Pump water to expose mudflats & germinate seeds- Provide water reservoir for mussels- Provide live fish removal effort• Aerially seed cover crop (annual millet) if needed• Re-flood gradually over mid-late summer2014• Partial de-watering; establish perennials