October 2010
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Before and After: Dam Remediation
A year after a restoration project was completed on the Ottawa River, the site where a dam once stood is safer, is more welcoming to people and fish, and flood-tolerant plants are becoming established.

Before After
The Ottawa River in the Village of Ottawa Hills, just west of Secor Rd. and south of Bancroft St.

The 2010 Northwest Ohio Urban Forestry Seminar on October 21 is touring the site as part of its annual program. Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat will talk about how erosion was addressed and how the floodplain was planted.

When first built, the 15’-tall dam in the Village of Ottawa Hills was intended to create a pond in the river’s floodplain. That pond never really developed. The size of the dam also made the river dangerous and the area was fenced to reduce access. In 2008, regional partners including TMACOG, the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, ODOT, and the Village of Ottawa Hills partnered to remove it and restore the river and riparian area.

In 2009 the dam was knocked down and the entire site was made safer and more accessible. Stream banks that were deeply eroded were stabilized with plants and single stone placement. The adjacent floodplain area was also planted with native trees and shrubs. Stones were placed to provide cover and resting areas for fish and to make stepping stones across the river, and provide places to sit near the water’s edge. Now the site is an attractive place that invites recreation and allows fish to move freely. The design should also allow the river and floodplain to manage seasonal floods better than when the dam was in place.

Click here to see another before-and-after dam remediation project, this one on Swan Creek at Highland Park.

Swan Creek

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