Howard Marsh Addition Now Open
The second and final phase of Howard Marsh Metropark, an historic wetland restoration project near the Lake Erie shore in Jerusalem Township, opened Wednesday, adding more acres of wildlife habitat and additional miles of kayaking and hiking trails.
Local, state and federal officials joined Metroparks to commemorate the event at a news conference, which was moved to Macomber Lodge at Pearson Metropark because of inclement weather.
Hosted by Kevin Dalton, a member of the Board of Park Commissioners, the lineup of speakers included Tim Schetter, Metroparks chief natural resources officer; Kendra Wecker, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife; Jamie Rader, Director of Operations for Ducks Unlimited, Great Lakes/Atlantic Region; and representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
About Howard Marsh Phase 2
In 2008, Metroparks purchased a 987-acre farm near the shores of Lake Erie for $6 million using $1.2 million from its land acquisition fund and $4.8 million in grants from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Clean Ohio Fund.
After an extensive public planning process with project partners Ohio Division of Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Ducks Unlimited, in March 2018 Metroparks completed Phase 1 construction of Howard Marsh Metropark, restoring 700 acres back to Lake Erie coastal wetlands and associated upland habitat. This constituted the single largest wetland restoration project completed under the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Since opening in spring 2018, Phase 1 has attracted thousands of birders drawn by a wide variety of shorebirds and waterfowl, especially during spring and fall migration. It has also become a popular kayaking and hiking destination.
Soon after completion of Phase 1 construction at a cost of $10.8 million, with $6.8 million in grant funds from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and NOAA, Metroparks began working with project partners on Phase 2 to restore the remaining 243-acres.
The Phase 2 project:
- Restored 203 acres of coastal wetlands (Phases 1 and 2 restored a total of 774 acres)
- Restored 25 acres of upland habitat (total 141 acres)
- Restored 4 miles of deep water channels for fish habitat and kayaking (total 10 miles)
- Constructed 2.5 miles of hiking trails and boardwalks (total 9.1 miles)
As part of Phase 2 construction, Metroparks replaced over 0.5 miles of failing flood control levies with newly constructed wetland dikes, reducing the risk of flooding to over 70 adjacent residences. The project also eliminates drainage from 243 acres of agricultural land into the Lake Erie western basin to enhance water quality.
Phase 2 Funding
The $3.6 million Phase 2 habitat restoration project was paid for with $2.7 million from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded to Ducks Unlimited. The Clean Ohio Fund also awarded a $630,000 grant.