Restoring Coastal Wetlands at Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge

Project – Cedar Point Coastal Wetlands

Project Location

The Cedar Point Pool 2 project, now known as John Gradel Marsh, is located along the western basin of Lake Erie at Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of this project is to enhance 155 acres of preserved coastal wetland habitat for fish and wildlife and to restore hydrological connectivity to Lake Erie.

Project Benefits

The John Gradel Marsh project reintegrates coastal wetland components that were lost with the introduction of industry and agriculture. Historically, this area of Northwest Ohio was a vast network of swamps, marshes, and forests known as the Great Black Swamp. Reconnecting refuge wetlands to Lake Erie has been a primary management goal for the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

• Re-establishes high-quality habitat for fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife to rest, raise young, and thrive.
• Provides coastal wetlands for rearing, nursing, and cover habitat for native fish species to spawn and raise their young.
• Improves management of coastal wetlands with a new water control structure that has the ability to capture agricultural runoff, carry it through the Pool 2 wetlands, filter the water, and release it ultimately into Lake Erie.

Project Objectives

• Restore and enhance 155 acres of coastal wetlands.
• Benefit fish and wildlife populations with access to high-quality habitat.
• Provide water quality benefits to Lake Erie by restoring hydrological connectivity.

Management Practices

• When managed as an open connection, the water control structure will provide direct hydrologic connectivity to Lake Erie water level seiche fluctuations, continuously exchanging water between the lake and the wetland. This will result in more natural wetland hydrological cycles and provide water quality benefits to Lake Erie through sediment and nutrient retention within the wetland.
• An installed fish passage structure provides access for fish from Lake Erie to coastal wetlands.
• Pump structures installed:
– One pump moves water between the wetland and Lake Erie.
– The other pump collects water from the Gradel Family Farm into a ditch that can be taken into a wetland or Lake Erie.

Pump structure at Cedar Point Pool 2. Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Project Links

• Project Rack Card: Restoring Coastal Wetlands at Cedar Point NWR
• Data Management and Delisting System Entry: Restoring coastal wetlands at Pool 2 of Cedar Point NWR

Project Partners

This project was a collaborative effort between the John Gradel & Sons Farms Inc. and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, with financial support provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Photo credits:
Banner image: Chris Kanipe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer
All other page photos: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service