Blausey Project: From Farmland to Wetland
The NOAA announced $16.7 million worth of funding for restoration projects in the Great Lakes area. One of the projects that were funded was the Blausey Project. This area in northern Ohio used to be a large swamp, The Great Black Swamp, but European settlers converted the area to the immensely fertile farming land that it is now, despite the ecological issues it caused to the area. The whole goal of this project was to restore the 171 acres into the wetlands they were prior to their conversion in order to get the ideal ecosystem back for the native fish to eat and thrive in as well as offer additional wetlands to soak up phosphorous to help eliminate the algae problem in Lake Erie.
In addition to restoring the wetland, the project also included putting in a fish ladder to allow the fish species to swim between the river area adjacent and the wetlands themselves. This ladder was the first in the Lake Erie area and is ingenious when it comes to fish reproduction. The entrance to the ladder has a carp gate with bars two inches apart in order to allow the native game fish into this ideal habitat and keeps the invasive carp fish out. This allows the game fish that have had their numbers hurt by the carp in Lake Erie to have a sort of safe haven to reproduce and has effectively increased the numbers of game fish to 13% of captures and there are 24 species calling the area home.
Fish aren’t the only animals that are benefitting from this new wetlands area. This area is now the habitat of 125 species of birds as well as providing an important stop for migrating birds having 120 different species recorded in the wetland since its renewal. In fact, this restoration has done so much for this habitat that before the construction began in 2011, the percentage of birds that were shorebirds or waterfowl was a mere 4% and the season after the restoration was complete, in 2013, the percentage was up to 84% waterbirds. This just proves how quickly a restoration can positively affect the environment. This information and population observations should be able to provide further reasoning for other areas to restore their natural habitats to substantially improve the ecologies of many other environments.
(2015, September 30) Ohio Country Journal. Wetland rehabilitation effort paying off. Retrieved on June 14 from https://www.ocj.com/2015/09/wetland-rehabilitation-effort-paying-off/.
NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries Announces $16.7 Million in Funding for Habitat Restoration in the Great Lakes. Retrieved on June 14 from https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/stories/2014/noaa_fisheries_announces__16.7_million_in_funding_for_habitat_restoration_in_the_great_lakes.html.
Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Facility. Climate Considerations for Habitat Restoration. Retrieved on June 14 from http://greatlakesresilience.org/case-studies/habitat-environment/climate-considerations-habitat-restoration.