Sandhill Crane Wetlands
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Please view birds from the roadside only,
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently broke ground on the restoration of one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels in the historic Irwin Wet Prairie. The 280-acre Sandhill Crane Wetlands project, located at Angola Road and Rabb Road, aims to protect water quality and restore wildlife habitat.
Farmed for decades, The Nature Conservancy has begun converting this frequently flooded, marginal cropland into a functioning wetland that will reduce nutrient runoff into nearby streams and expand natural habitat. Once over 10 miles long, the historic Irwin Wet Prairie played a pivotal role in slowing down and naturally treating waters that carried nutrients to Lake Erie. It also provided vital habitat for wildlife such as songbirds, waterfowl, and amphibians and reptiles.
“Today, less than 5% of all wetlands and marshes in the western Lake Erie basin remain, and their removal has resulted in profound impacts on water quality, most notably the annual harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie” says Alexis Sakas, natural infrastructure director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “The Sandhill Crane Wetlands project will return much needed ‘natural infrastructure’ to the landscape, which provides long-term benefits of flood reduction, cleaner water, wildlife habitat and recreation and tourism opportunities. Upon completion of the restoration, this site will provide an estimated 300 million gallons of additional stormwater storage capacity thereby reducing flood impacts and enabling replanted native vegetation to absorb nutrients that would otherwise be carried downstream to the lake. What’s more, this project is part of a broader TNC initiative to restore thousands of additional acres of wetlands across the Western Lake Erie Basin.”
The project’s name also reflects an optimism that the land will again support nesting and foraging habitat for Sandhill Cranes, which have not successfully nested in Ohio’s Oak Openings region in over 70 years. Initial restoration of this property will take place over the next year and provide extensive research and education opportunities for landowners, students, and partners.
This restoration effort was made possible because it is located within the Maumee Area of Concern and is a priority project for wildlife habitat. Funding was provided by the Maumee Area of Concern and Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Programs.
From The Nature Conservancy
No restroom facilities.