Ottawa River Restoration at UT
At a public meeting at the University of Toledo on February 14, university staff and students learned more about the planned improvements to the Ottawa River that runs through the campus. The Army Corps of Engineers presented the overall plan to restore that river. Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat and UT’s Dr. Patrick Lawrence went into more detail on the plan for vegetation in the riparian area.
When the university presented a facility master plan in 2003, part of the plans addressed the river which cuts through the main campus in west Toledo. The President’s Commission on the River grew out of that master plan. The commission outlined recommendations for better access to the water, beautification, and incorporating the river into other campus design plans. The current restoration project continues implementation of many of those recommendations. The more ambitious parts of the plan envision river view overlooks and a wet meadow with boardwalks.
Through most of its 3,700-foot length on the campus, the river has been channelized into a ditch. The streambed is devoid of the sort of logs, stones, and riffles that would be found in a more natural setting. The steep stream banks are also low on vegetation, resulting in erosion. The plan for restoration includes planting native species on the banks and adding natural materials including logs and stones to the streambed. The improved design should be more attractive, more hospitable to fish life, reduce erosion, and should allow the stream to handle stormwater more effectively.