Maumee River–Grand Rapids
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Tips for birding Maumee River Grand Rapids
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.
From Ohio Ornithological Society
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.