Maumee River Rapids

Maumee River Rapids
Maumee, Ohio 43537

Also, see Maumee River-Lower Important Bird Area

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Lucas County

Maumee River Rapids
Coordinates: 41.5522052, -83.6680126
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Tips for birding Maumee River Rapids
Access points for the Maumee River Rapids are spread along the Maumee River roughly 5 miles downstream and 12 miles upstream from Waterville.

Directions to best access points:
1. From the junction of I-475 and US-24, proceed southwest to the Jerome/Stitt Rd. exit. Cross over the overpass and follow the curved road to the left for 0.3 miles to Jerome Road. Turn right (south) and pass down the hill to the river. Vantage points are from here downstream past the I-475 bridge.
2. From Waterville, take US-24 southwest about 1.0 miles to Farnsworth Metropark, Roche de Bouef parking area. Survey the rapids at this point downstream past the old bridge. There are restrooms here.
3. From Waterville, take OH-64 east across the bridge and turn right (south) after you cross the bridge onto OH-64 and OH-65 combined. OH-65 branches to the right after .5 mile. At the bottom of the first hill, check the Miltonville access area.
4. Weir’s Rapids is accessed from OH-65 about 4.5 mile southwest of the Waterville (OH-64) bridge. Turn on Rangeline Road.
5. Otsego Rapids is accessed from OH-65 at its junction with OH-235 about 6.0 miles southwest of the Waterville bridge. Park at the Otsego Park shelter house and view the rapids from the river side of the shelter house.
6. VanTassel access is located 8.6 miles from the Waterville bridge.
7. The rapids at Grand Rapids are easily viewed from just upstream from the railroad bridge or, from the US-24 side of the river, at Providence dam. Access to the dam is about 0.3 mile southwest of the Grand Rapids (OH-578) bridge.
8. Otsego Road (unmarked) is an obscure gravel road along US-24 about 5.0 miles SW of Waterville. It is just northeast of the junction of Box Road. Turn south toward the river and the road soon ends at the river.

All access areas mentioned have parking lots with the exception of the Otsego Road site.

The river is popular with duck and goose hunters in the fall and early winter. River ice is often unpredictable, be careful.

The Grand Rapids-Waterville Christmas Bird Count covers all of the Maumee River rapids area mentioned in this article.
From Ohio Ornithological Society

The Maumee River Rapids are a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

Birds of Interest by Season
Winter
Over the past dozen years or so, the river rapids have proven to be a reliable location for unusual winter gulls. Numbers of gulls will build on the river as Lake Erie begins to ice up, leaving the rapids as one of the few areas of open water in NW Ohio. A die off of Gizzard Shad also entices large numbers of gulls to the river rapids. Among the throngs of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls are usually a few Glaucous, Iceland, and Lesser-black-backed Gulls. Rarer still is Thayer’s Gull, with just a few records, and Mew Gull, with just a single occurrence. Small numbers of ducks visit the rapids in winter as well; many remember the Harlequin Duck that wintered at Grand Rapids in 2001.
Spring
River water levels are usually too high in spring to attract any concentration of water birds so efforts in spring turn to songbirds. There are no particular specialties to seek here, but numbers of birds can often be good as the migrants appear to use the wooded riverbanks as a corridor.
Summer
Beginning in July, and depending on water levels, the southbound shorebird migration can be quite good on the rapids. Up to a dozen species may be found in a day and a season’s worth of scrutiny of the low water will turn up between twenty and thirty species. Unusual sightings include American Avocet, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Ruff, and Wilson’s Phalarope. Lesser Yellowlegs dominate the early migration, American Golden-plovers often make an October appearance, and the shorebird migration tails off with (as elsewhere) Dunlin in November. Cliff Swallows nest under the old bridge at Farnsworth Metropark, Osprey are regularly seen here, Franklin’s Gulls may appear any time from July to November, and American White Pelicans are rare visitors.
Fall
Beginning in July, and depending on water levels, the southbound shorebird migration can be quite good on the rapids. Up to a dozen species may be found in a day and a season’s worth of scrutiny of the low water will turn up between twenty and thirty species. Unusual sightings include American Avocet, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Ruff, and Wilson’s Phalarope. Lesser Yellowlegs dominate the early migration, American Golden-plovers often make an October appearance, and the shorebird migration tails off with (as elsewhere) Dunlin in November. Cliff Swallows nest under the old bridge at Farnsworth Metropark, Osprey are regularly seen here, Franklin’s Gulls may appear any time from July to November, and American White Pelicans are rare visitors.

About Maumee River Rapids
The rapids of the Maumee River stretch from Grand Rapids to Maumee, a distance of some 15 miles. There are several low water areas in this stretch of river punctuated by deepwater zones. Riparian forest also borders the river on both sides. Access points are many, but perhaps the most popular sites are the Jerome Road rapids (Area #1) and the Farnsworth Park rapids (Area #2). The area is bordered by US-24 on the north and OH-65 on the south. The Towpath Trail on the north side of the river links Farnsworth Park in the northeast to Providence Park in the southwest. This 8-mile level trail traverses excellent riparian forest and offers frequent views of the river.

About the Maumee River
The Maumee River begins its 137-mile northeastward journey in Fort Wayne, Ind., at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers and empties into Maumee Bay (Lake Erie) in Toledo. Covering over 6,500 square miles (4.2 million acres), its watershed is the largest drainage basin in the Great Lakes Watershed.

More than 3,900 miles of rivers and streams flow into the Maumee, including the Auglaize, Blanchard (via the Auglaize) and Tiffin rivers. The upper 43 miles of the Maumee River in Ohio is designated as a State Scenic River.

Historically, the Maumee River was also known as the Miami River and called “Miami of the Lake,” not to be confused with the Miami River in southern Ohio, which was known as “Miami of the Ohio.” The word ‘Maumee’ is an anglicized spelling of the Ottawa name for the Miami Indians, ‘maamii.’

The Maumee River provided a strategic backdrop during the Northwest Indian War in the decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Many forts, including Defiance, Loramie, and Recovery were established to protect trade routes along the river.

The now abandoned Miami and Erie Canal once paralleled the Maumee River between Toledo and Defiance. The canal was completed in 1845 and provided a direct connection for freight traffic between Lake Erie and the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Growing railroad networks in Ohio gradually rendered the canal systems obsolete.

In 1913 the Miami and Erie, as well as the Ohio and Erie Canal in eastern Ohio, was destroyed due to catastrophic flooding. Many remnant segments of the canal exist today and many are located on public lands for recreational use. Stretches of the canal’s towpath have been converted into hiking trails.

The Maumee River is used as a major transportation corridor for commercial freight entering and leaving the Port of Toledo. Due to concerns that too much industrial and wastewater contaminants had been discharged into the lower portion of the river, the Maumee was federally designated an Area of Concern in 1985 (along with the Ashtabula, Black, and Cuyahoga rivers), prompting the foundation of the Maumee River Remedial Action Plan (RAP). The RAP uses community-based, collaborative, ecosystem-based approaches to clean up and restore the polluted portions of the river. As a result of the RAP’s efforts, water quality in the lower Maumee is improving.

In the upper reaches, upstream of the city of Maumee, the river is shallower and used primarily for recreational purposes. The Maumee is a popular spot to fish for flathead catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass and white bass. Each spring, thousands of walleye run up the Maumee to spawn, attracting anglers from across the nation.

Restrooms are located at Side Cut Metropark at the northeast end of the rapids, at Farnsworth Metropark, at Bendview Park along the Towpath Trail, and at Providence Metropark at the southwest end of the rapids.