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Management Action Project Spotlight – Penn 7

Penn7 WetlandThere has been a lot progress made in funding and implementing the MAAC-recommended management action (MAP) projects for Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) 14b (Loss of Wildlife Habitat).  Since the list of projects were approved by Ohio EPA and US EPA in early 2018, 17 of the 20 projects have been fully funded, two are funded through engineering and design (E&D) with implementation funding expected or in hand, and one is in the application process for funding.  The Penn 7 Restoration Project is one of the projects currently undergoing E&D with implementation funding secured. Read on for a summary of this project and this exciting progress!

As a former confined disposal facility (CDF) on the banks of the lower Maumee River, the vacant 59-acre Penn 7 Property once accepted material dredged from the Toledo Harbor shipping channel. The property was encircled by a large berm to prevent dredged material from moving off-site. This berm currently isolates on-site wetlands from the river, thereby reducing the value of the wetlands with respect to fish and wildlife habitat.

With funds received from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Partnership awarded to the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and subcontracted to the City of Toledo, the following restoration activities are planned:

  • Connection of the upstream portion of Penn 7 to the Maumee River to allow river water to flow through the system;
  • Excavation/re-contouring of the upstream part of the property to improve a wetland to better support fish and wildlife;
  • Excavation of a channel to connect the wetland to the open embayment portion of the property;
  • Construction of a berm at the outer boundary of the embayment area to protect a planned wetland behind it;
  • Installation of aquatic habitat structures and removal of invasive species; and
  • Habitat improvements for the forested upland area.

This restoration work is expected to support a variety of wildlife and fish species. Once connected to the river, the Penn 7 site could act as a productive spawning and nursery site for over 40 species of Lake Erie fish. It is also expected that the site will act as an important migratory stopover for a number of bird species, while also providing quality habitat for area amphibians and mammals.

This project involves an engaged project management team representing the City of Toledo, NOAA, Great Lakes Commission, Ohio EPA, ODNR Division of Wildlife, and the contracted engineering firm, Hull & Associates, Inc. For questions regarding this project and its progress, please contact the project public liaison at Hull & Associates, Inc.; Jenny Carter-Cornell (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Additional project information is available at www.glc.org/work/aocs/maumee.

For a pdf of the current restoration concept plan, click here.

 

MAAC Member Openings

MAAC LogoAt this time, the MAAC is seeking applications for committee membership for 2020 - 2021. Multiple voting member positions are currently open, and there is no limit to the number of new Non-voting (resource) member seats. Voting members serve for two year terms, while non-voting members are appointed each year based on expressed interest. This year, we are especially interested in adding more community members to the MAAC; please consider!

Voting Member applications are available at maumeeaoc.org for those interested in joining the MAAC. The application deadline is Sunday, December 15th, 2019. Non-Voting Members do NOT need to complete the application. They only need to send an email to Cherie Blair (Ohio EPA) or Kris Patterson (Partners for Clean Streams) indicating their interest and for which level of involvement (Ex-Officio and Resource members). The time and your ability to represent your respective agency should be approved within your agency per your own internal process. 

We want to make sure the Maumee AOC has a strong and representative voice in the AOC process and encourage all interested individuals to apply. The members of the MAAC will play an important role in defining the future course of the activities in the AOC. Some of the key activities for 2020 include:

  • Work with Ohio EPA to determine any BUIs that can be removed;
  • Continue to evaluate conditions and needs utilizing recently collected data;
  • Continue to develop strategically located projects that will lead most directly to BUI removal;
  • Continue development of final management action projects (MAPs) list for all remaining BUIs.

We invite you and your agency to be involved in improving the Maumee AOC as either a Voting, Ex-officio or Resource Member of the MAAC. As you consider this, please see the details regarding each of these positions here.

Thank you for considering this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you by December 15th!

Upcoming MAAC Meeting

Final quarterly meeting of 2019

When: December 12th; 9:30 - 12:30

Where: Ohio EPA NWDO Office, 347 N. Dunbridge Road, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402

Aquatic Beneficial Use Impairments - The Process

Photo of 2018 AOC workshopThe MAAC subcommittee has been hard at work to identify Management Action Projects to address the aquatic Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs). These BUIs are as follows:

  • BUI 3a: Degradation of Fish Populations
  • BUI 6: Degradation of Benthos
  • BUI14a: Loss of Fish Habitat

Over the course of the last two years (2018-2019), professionals representing nonprofit groups, independent consulting firms, and government agencies from around the AOC have been meeting to identify projects and strategies for addressing these BUIs. The process began with two day-long workshops, where participants provided their expertise to help identify primary problems and a list of potential solutions for each hydrologic unit within the AOC. Following these workshops, smaller, more focused subcommittee meetings were held frequently to allow for the discussion required to draft a comprehensive project list. This work will continue into 2020.

The steps/tasks that the subcommittee is using are detailed in sequential order below.

  1. Identify hydrologic units where additional information on BUI status is needed and assess whether MAAC-recommended Evaluation Projects will meet this need.
  2. Identify hydrologic units where a habitat and/or aquatic community score(s) need to be raised.
  3. Identify the specific restoration need for each hydrologic unit based on specific scores and other relevant information.
  4. Assess whether current MAAC-recommended Management Action Projects will achieve BUI targets in given hydrologic units, and whether project enhancements should be made.
  5. Develop (as a group) and prioritize additional viable Management Action Projects where needed.
  6. Propose additional Management Action Projects to the MAAC (2020).
  7. MAAC will propose an agreed upon project list to Ohio EPA.
  8. Ohio EPA will review the list & forward recommendations to US EPA, who will approve the list.
  9. Management Action Projects approved by US EPA will be funded as budgets allow.
  10. Work on funded projects work will be carried out by individual project leads.

Maumee River Water Quality Cruise

2019 Water Quality Boat CruiseOn August 4th, approximately 45 Toledo-area residents boarded the Sandpiper boat near downtown Toledo to enjoy a scenic river cruise and learn more about local water quality issues and related solutions. Local experts were on hand to discuss many topics, including several projects being done in the Maumee AOC. Jenny Carter-Cornell (MAAC Chair), of Hull and Associates, Inc., spoke about a number of upcoming projects being planned to improve the lower Maumee River (e.g., alternative uses of dredged material). More AOC-related project work was discussed when Bill Hintz, an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University, shared information about work being done with USGS to identify potential habitat and fish restoration projects in the lower Maumee River. All speakers took questions throughout their presentations and the guests seemed to really appreciate the thorough explanations provided. Many thanks to all of the speakers!

The Maumee AOC Committee works toward fishable and swimmable waters in the Maumee Area of Concern and delisting the beneficial use impairments. The Committee is working towards all major restoration projects being completed by 2025, through collaboration of partners and volunteer opportunities by its facilitating organization, Partners for Clean Streams. The committee is made up of representatives from various organizations, citizens, businesses and non-government agencies to build long term solutions to the area’s water quality issues.