July/August 2011
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River Restoration at University of Toledo

TMACOG Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat is working with the partners at the University of Toledo to restore more natural features to the Ottawa River where it runs through the campus.

“Most of the river in that section was re-routed and channelized a long time ago,” said Horvat. The area in question is about .7-mile long. Horvat notes that there is almost no plant life in the area. “Almost nothing is growing in the streambed or on the banks, none of the grasses and plants that we normally have in area creeks.” The team members are looking at options for restoring some more natural shoreline with planted materials. They will also consider structural elements to aid development of useful habitat: stones to form riffles or resting places and small logs or other natural materials.

Deeply rooted plants on the banks of a waterway hold the shore in place and prevent erosion of sediment. Plants also filter many pollutants out of the water by taking up chemicals in their biomass. Horvat is working with Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the project.

In the first phase of the project, partners are doing trials to see what will grow in the area. Stakes were cut, soaked, and transferred to the stream banks. They will be monitored for the growing season to see which species of tree and shrub take root and flourish. See video links here and here to watch how the team harvested and prepared the stakes. Other elements of the planning phase include design, engineering, and permitting. Horvat says that construction should begin in August, 2012. Work is being financed by a 319 grant from the Ohio EPA. The partners will be seeking to leverage this grant with other funding sources to complete the project.

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