Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Project Welcomes More Birds and Fish Home to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
May 6, 2013
Conservation partners mark completion of the Blausey Tract at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Left to right: James Cole (The Nature Conservancy), Gildo Tori (Ducks Unlimited), Josh Knights (The Nature Conservatory), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Charlie Wooley (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Roy Kroll (Ducks Unlimited), John Catena (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Jason Lewis (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge), and Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Sass. Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.
Migratory birds and native fish now have more land and waters to thrive in Ohio, thanks to a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley joined Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge staff and Friends, along with conservation partners from The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited, to mark the completion of the Blausey Tract on Friday May 3, 2013.
The Nature Conservancy spearheaded this 171-acre coastal wetland restoration project by writing this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administered grant and completing the work with expertise from Ducks Unlimited. Through this private and public partnership, critical coastal wetland and marsh habitats have been restored and enhanced. Now the natural flow of wetlands have been reconnected to Lake Erie tributaries, which will improve migratory bird resting and feeding areas, fish habitat, and overall water quality.
“I cannot stress enough how important Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding has been to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as we work across the region to restore important Great Lakes habitats,” commented Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley.
There is much more restoration work ahead for Ottawa Refuge and its conservation partners. With these funds, $1.3 million will be utilized to restore and enhance nearly 600 acres of coastal wetland habitats when all projects are completed.
“It is because of strong partnerships, like the one we have with The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited, and wonderful congressional support, that dirt gets moved and restoration work gets done,” said Wooley.
Every acre that Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge returns to natural habitat means that more birds and fish can thrive and that helps us meet our mission of large, landscape-level conservation here and across the Great Lakes.
These habitats also have a direct economic benefit to the region. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, birders and other wildlife-watching related recreationalists in 2011 brought more than $745,000 to the state of Ohio.