The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Black Swamp Conservancy, will be breaking ground on a new H2Ohio stream and wetland project in Paulding County on Sept. 28. The Forder Bridge Floodplain Reconnection Project will create a series of “treatment train” wetlands and repair a stream on the property.

Shortly after the conservancy purchased the site in 2016, most of the property was taken out of agricultural use and reforested with native tree plantings. H2Ohio funding will be used for four acres of wetland restoration and restoring two streams on this 54-acre property.

“The goal of this project is to slow the runoff of water from the property and allow natural processes to remove nutrients and other pollutants from that water,” said the conservancy’s conservation manager Melanie Coulter. “This project will help improve water quality in the Maumee River watershed and create improved wildlife habitat at Forder Bridge.”

The Forder Bridge river access site, which is a popular fishing spot and access point for canoes and kayaks, will be closed to the public during construction, starting Sept. 28. The conservancy plans to reopen the property to public use in spring 2021.

During this time, the canoe and kayak access also will be improved, allowing for paddlers to carry their boats to the river more easily and safely.

Black Swamp Conservancy also is using this opportunity to reiterate and enforce its rules for the preserve.

“While we are excited that so many community members are using the site to access and enjoy the Maumee River, we have been concerned about some of the activities at Forder Bridge,” said Rob Krain, the conservancy’s executive director. “When the preserve reopens next spring, you will see new signage on the property and we’ll be working with local law enforcement to ensure the rules are being followed.”

In particular:

• Motor vehicles are prohibited on the property. Those accessing the river must park in the designated parking lot and walk into the site. ATVs are not allowed.

• There are no campsites at the Forder Bridge river access site. Camping is strictly prohibited on the property.

• No littering or dumping. Visitors are expected to take their trash with them when they leave.

(About Black Swamp Conservancy: Black Swamp Conservancy is a land trust dedicated to protecting agricultural land and natural areas, now and for future generations. The Conservancy does this to preserve the heritage, habitats and waters of northwest Ohio. Since its founding in 1993 the organization has permanently protected more than 19,500 acres of wetlands, woods and working lands across northwest Ohio.)

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