August & September 2013
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Ottawa River Restoration Expanded

A series of incremental projects have improved portions of the Ottawa River where it flows through the main campus of the University of Toledo. Now work has started on a new project that will address the entire 3,700-foot length of the river from where it meets the campus near the Law School at Secor Road, to the south of Savage Hall where it exits. See a University of Toledo video.

The newest work on the river will address the streambed and water’s edge areas. Several strategies will be used to provide a diversity of habitat to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Locked logs are trees that are placed in the river with root end of the tree locked into the bank to hold the trunks in place and keep the bank stable.
Lunkers are open wooden frames that mimic undercut banks. The structures will prevent erosion or bank collapse while providing shade and habit for fish and other aquatic organisms.
Bendway weirs are stones that are strategically placed at the edge of streams to direct water flow and reduce erosion. They also can be stepping stones, allowing people closer access to the water.
Hydraulic cover stones will be in the river itself. They break up current and provide resting space for fish.

Restoration of the river is part of the University of Toledo’s master plan. Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor in the department of Geography and Planning, is the administrator of the project which is funded through the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. TMACOG’s Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat will be a project manager. Horvat says, “It’s a lot of work to do and we have only three weeks to do it. The site is very tight with utilities, high voltage wires, and sewer and steam lines running through it.” He noted that with a river that has been highly channelized and which runs through a fully developed campus, the options for remediation are limited. They cannot change the footprint of the river but will improve the habitat within the waterway. There will also be some work on the streambanks including stepping stones and planting of native species.

Removal of a dam on the Ottawa River at Ottawa Hills has made it possible for fish to travel more freely on the river. Fishermen have reported catching a wide range of fish include bass, pike, and even steelhead in the Ottawa River on campus.

The Ottawa River behind the University of Toledo Law School.

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