Map of the projected project as of June 2014 by the Army Corp of Engineers.
The Army Corp of Engineers has released an update to their Coastal Wetland Restoration Project for the City of Port Clinton. The affected area of the project is west of the City Beach on Perry Street, east of Derby Pond at Waterworks Park, north of Perry Street. Originally the project was listed as a $2.5 million dollar project, but after some reconsideration, the bill for the project, as proposed now, has dropped to $1,257,500.
“To save cash and to be equally affective, the ponds will be deeper so there will still be water exchange,” said Port Clinton Mayor Vince Leone. “Originally there was a pipe system that was going to go in, but it was too costly.”
Right now the coastal wetland in the projected area currently provides little quality habitat for coastal species, including migratory birds. The area now is characterized by an abundance of non-native, invasive plant species, including phragmite. The existing wetland is also cut off from external water sources of surface water, such as upland lake connections, that would provide adequate water input and exchange.
“Phragmites is such an invasive species it takes 5 years to kill,” said Mayor Leone. “The city is taking over responsibility of spraying the area and starting in the fall we will be spraying the preserve area all the way down the Portage River to start to kill the phragmites. The spraying will take place every spring and fall for the next 5 years.”
The projected number that the city would be contributing to the project is $332,000. This would include the property value, spraying and is also projected to be covered by grants and volunteer hours to cut the immediate cost.
Right now anything done to the area on the preserve needs to be put in writing and approved by the Black Swamp Conservancy; this includes all tasks and maintenance.
“We are working with Mike Libben of Ottawa Soil and Water to come up with a continuing plan to submit to the Black Swamp Conservancy for the restoration,” said Mayor Leone.
The restoration plan will introduce non-invasive, local plant life that will prevent the phragmites from returning. The plan also proposes the introduction of sand dunes and grasslands which will naturally filter the water. The walkway in the area is also planned to be enhanced. The projected restoration will also result in the expansion of coastal wetland habitat, increased habitat quality and improved water quality.
“This is a continuous project,” said Mayor Leone, “the biggest part of the project will take place in 2016, but we are starting the process this fall. This is a projected project, nothing is set in stone as of now. The Army Corp of Engineers wants and needs public opinion on the project and they will be conducting public input meetings to collect that information.”