by Kristi Walker, Plant Health Management major
The Maumee River. Once pristine with numerous fish and wild life, today is known as the “Muddy Maumee”. Draining 24 counties in the tri-state area of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, the Maumee is the largest of the multiple watersheds that feed Lake Erie. This large area that is drained was once the Great Black Swamp. However, in 1859 a law was established that allowed public ditches which were dug and connected to drain the fertile swampland dry enough to till a for crop production. The crop production and development of the area lad to the degradation of the river. Now the Maumee is said to be the cause of 50% of the sediment and 40 % of the phosphorous that is depositing in Lake Erie.
Even though agriculture gets most of the grief for polluting the river, run off from road ways and yards goes to the same place and contributes to the problem as well. These are problems that we all need to work together to solve.
One thing to remember is that however muddy the Maumee may be, there is still beauty on this scenic water way. There are shallow lime stone beds are perfect for walleye spawning, and miles of river to go canoeing or hiking along. This important beauty is worth all of us to protect.