April / May 2011
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Wolf Creek Restoration Plan

TMACOG’s Wolf Creek Committee approved a restoration plan on March 8 to address the problem of bacteria at Maumee Bay State Park. Swimming advisories due to the high bacteria levels have been frequently posted at the Park’s Lake Erie beach. Studies have shown that Wolf Creek/Berger Ditch is a significant source of bacteria and nutrients to the lake. Many steps have been taken to reduce the amount of contaminants reaching the water – including repair of septic systems and extending sewer service to parts of the watershed. The implementation of this restoration plan will help address the bacteria remaining in the stream and, as an added benefit, will also help reduce the nutrient loading to the lake. The plan calls for the construction or restoration of a series of ponds, wetlands, floodplain, and riparian habitat. Elements of the project include:

  • Sedimentation ponds will slow the water and allow large particles to drop out of the water stream.
  • Broad floodplains, up to 11 acres, will serve as an area where smaller particles will drop out, and where vegetation will take up nutrients from stream water. Bacteria will die when they dry out.
  • A multi-stage, or terraced, wetland system on the west side of Berger Ditch could be up to 25 acres. This is designed to hold water from storm and seiche events. Studies have shown that strong storms result in more pathogens in the water at the park.
  • Streambank habitat restoration along Berger Ditch will improve aquatic and upland habitat for fish and wildlife.

Bill Petruzzi, principal at Hull & Associates, Inc., is part of the team that developed the plan along with the TMACOG, the University of Toledo, the City of Oregon, Lucas County, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Geological Survey. He said that the current plan is the result of good research, public input, and recommendations to implement best practices. He also stated “This project has benefited from a diverse and committed team from local governments, regulatory agencies, academia, and the private sector. The organizations dedicated their best resources to create a workable solution for Wolf Creek, now we just need to find the money to help make these plans a reality.” He describes the plan as the “least intrusive, most natural, and cost-effective option” for the area. Because it’s a passive treatment plan there will be minimal maintenance required.

Dr. Daryl Dwyer, associate professor of Environmental Science at the University of Toledo, was also part of the development team. He describes it as “a variety of strategies” addressing water quality impacts. Proven treatment strategies of “drying, straining, filtering, adsorption onto soils, and biomass uptake” will all be put to work.

The project will not require pumps and other high-cost operations and maintenance elements. The project could be phased or constructed at the same time, depending on the timing of the final secured funding sources for implementation. The team currently anticipates that work could be completed in one to two construction seasons. Project team members are currently preparing grant applications to complete final designs and to implement the plan. Dr. Dwyer is also applying for grants that will include funds for UT to complete follow up testing to help determine the effectiveness of the project.

Read the entire plan here.

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