The City of Defiance, through the H2Ohio program, will establish a wetland to improve water quality in the Maumee River Watershed.
Wetlands reduce phosphorus runoff and offer additional environmental benefits by absorbing pollutants, slowing down the movement of water, offering a natural filtering process, and preventing the further movement of contaminated matter.
The project involves restoring a 40-acre site, currently farmed, to a 34-acre ﬂoodplain wetland and providing additional habitat restoration features on the remainder of the project site. The funding for the project comes from the H2Ohio Program, which is focused on restoring wetlands to enhance nutrient retention and assimilation and reduce nutrient loadings to Lake Erie (and eventually throughout the State of Ohio). Given its location in the landscape, this project represents a unique opportunity to achieve the H2Ohio program objectives and create a vibrant and inspiring place for the Deﬁance community to see ﬁrsthand how a site can be transformed to provide improved water quality habitat and aesthetic beneﬁts.
The problems of Lake Erie and the Maumee River drainage are well known from a watershed perspective and include excessive nutrient loadings. These nutrient loadings (dissolved reactive phosphorus, nitrogen, etc.) stimulate seasonal Microcystis blooms in Lake Erie. The presence of the HAB (hazardous algal bloom) poses a public health risk and impacts economic activity by deterring vacationers and area residents from the Western Basin when blooms are prevalent. In response to these problems, the State of Ohio has initiated the H2Ohio program, which focuses on working collaboratively with the farming community to reduce nutrient loadings by applying a range of best management practices. In addition, conservation groups, Park Districts, and communities, like the City of Deﬁance, can apply for grant funding to implement wetland restoration projects that achieve the H2Ohio program goals. At the same time, the program is an opportunity for participants to leverage the funds to create community open space and ecologically beneﬁcial amenities and opportunities for public education to understand better the problems occurring in Lake Erie.
The City of Deﬁance has been an advocate for bringing citizens back to its waterfront. In recent years, it has been working collaboratively with other communities in the upper Maumee River Watershed to educate citizens on watershed and natural resources stewardship beneﬁts. Participating in the H2Ohio program is an example of the City of Deﬁance’s continued leadership to solve water quality problems and advance initiatives for the community’s health, welfare, and safety.
The primary design goal for the project is to convert agricultural land into a wetland/riparian complex with an improved hydrologic connection to the Maumee River. With restored hydrology, the system will increase nutrient uptake, reduce sedimentation and erosion, increase wetland habitat and improve riparian habitat.
Proposed Project Schedule
Engage Biohabitats as Design/Build Firm biohabitats.com
Conceptual Design, Permitting & Public Outreach
Plan Approval & Potential to Begin Construction
Stream Restoration & Wetland Creation
Active Maintenance During Establishment Period
2026 and Future: