March & April 2013
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Toledo Botanical Garden – Restoring Waterway and Habitat

A large restoration project at Toledo Botanical Garden that began construction in late fall of 2012 is just about complete in March 2013 with just some planting left to do. Spring and summer visitors to the garden will have access to a healthier, more natural stream and pond. Work was done in fall and winter weather to reduce disruption for park visitors.

The Toledo Botanical Garden (TBG) is located on Elmer Drive, north of West Bancroft between Holland-Sylvania and Reynolds roads. TBG is a public park with extensive, carefully cultivated gardens and some naturalistic areas.

Many years ago, a tributary of the Ottawa River was dammed in the garden to create two ponds. Over time, those ponds became choked with silt to the point where the water was only inches deep in places. Access to the water was poor and lawn went to the edge of the water with little plant life. The restoration project removed the two dams, routed the stream to flow freely, and created a healthier pond with some wetland area. The completed plan will have better habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife while establishing a healthier water feature in the garden.

TMACOG Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat is the project manager, working with the Corps of Engineers, TBG staff, Davey Resource Group, and Ecological Restoration, Inc. Funding was provided by a grant from the Ohio EPA. He said, “There are limits to creating a natural stream in a very urbanized area. We needed to keep close to the same footprint as we had. There are paved areas upstream so we have stormwater runoff that we need to manage.” The pond is fed by the stream during high rain events with a design that prevents silt-laden water from entering it.

The new stream will flow freely through three sets of riffles. Single-stone beltway weirs direct the water flow and will calm fast-moving water. Large stones were installed on the streambank to mimic undercut banks and create shelter for fish.

All of the new structures in place prevent erosion and provide walkable areas near the water allowing visitors an opportunity to more closely interact with the water. “The new design will showcase native plants and cultivars suited to stream sides and lake environments,” said Mr. Horvat. “I really like that the design brings people to the water instead of only providing a view from a distance.”

The restoration project is documented in a PowerPoint presentation here.

Poor access to the water.

Build up of silt meant lake was only inches deep.

Single stone beltway weirs direct water flow.
Large stones welcome walkers near water's edge.


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