Audubon Islands Habitat Restoration

Metroparks is leading efforts to restore shoreline and in-water habitat at Audubon Islands State Nature Preserve in the Maumee River between Maumee and Perrysburg. As owner of the approximately 160-acre island complex, Metroparks Toledo was delighted to receive a $3.6 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to fund engineering, design, permitting and restoration construction on and near the island complex.

Primary Benefits are Protected and Improved Habitat for Fish and Benthos* By:

  • Increasing habitat types along the shoreline primarily through the installation of stone shelves with engineered log jams and rock barrier reefs with stream bank plantings.
  • Deepening sections of the cove and adding woody habitat and other features.
  • Stabilizing eroding island banks, preventing further erosion, and creating resilient features at the islands to withstand higher and more variable water flows.

 * small organisms that live on the river bottom



Click the button above for maps, drawings and other information presented at the public open house October 4 (updated since the July open house)

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Project Team and Schedule

The Metroparks’ restoration team has strong project planning support from the Maumee Area of Concern (AOC) Advisory Committee and Ohio EPA, along with our design-build team of Verdantas and Mark Haynes Construction.

Planning and permit submittal are scheduled to be completed finished in December 2023. Construction work is planned to begin in 2024 once permits are received.

The islands will remain a nature preserve with limited public access.

Project Funding Dedicated to this Site is a Result of Significant Planning

This section of the Maumee River does not meet Ohio EPA standards for benthic populations, fish populations, and fish habitat. Members of the Maumee AOC Advisory Committee and its Aquatics Biological Subcommittee worked for several years and involved over 50 regional partners and experts to understand the causes of impairment and develop projects that would provide sustainable, long-term solutions to address these beneficial use impairments. After many studies and evaluations (further described below), this project was one of 54 aquatic management action projects recommended for funding by the Maumee AOC Advisory Committee and Ohio EPA, and then approved by U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office for a GLRI funding award.

Project plans will advance the preliminary designs prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its 2021-2022 Feasibility Study that incorporated significant stakeholder input. Biological assessments and studies that support the need for this work include the 2019-2020 Identification of Optimal Sites for Maumee AOC Restoration Actions in the Lower Maumee River prepared by the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University. Initial restoration concepts and analyses were presented in the 2020-2021 Lower Maumee River Restoration Design Concepts prepared by the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, and Hull/Verdantas. Descriptions and links to all previously completed studies and reports are  in the Lower Maumee River Pre-Feasibility Studies and Lower Maumee River Project Development Feasibility Study project summaries in the Maumee AOC DMDS program.

Public Input is a Critical Component of Our Planning Efforts

Our team reached out to the community directly and through the media in advance of public open houses in July and October, 2023, to seek public input on the restoration plans. Public input is helping to ensure that all factors are considered before engineering designs are complete by the end of the year.

For more, contact Scott Carpenter, 419-407-9726 or

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