Fox Property Restoration Unit

Project – Fox Property Restoration Unit

Project Location

The Fox Preserve project adds to a network of complex ecosystems that provide critical wildlife habitat near Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. This 40-acre project is located directly across State Route 2 from the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. The property includes an 8-acre woodlot, which was maintained and enhanced.

Project Benefits

This project reestablishes critical wildlife habitat around the shores of Lake Erie, an area that has been dramatically altered by industry and agriculture. The grassland restoration and reforestation on the Fox Property were designed to reflect Great Black Swamp land cover, based on elevation, soil types, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Management Plans.

• Provides high-quality wildlife habitat, including nesting places for year-round and migratory birds.
• Reestablishes regionally rare mesic prairie habitat, a fire-dependent biodiverse tallgrass prairie with soil neither too wet nor too dry.

Project Objectives

• Enhance existing habitat, including an 8-acre woodlot.
• Restore more than 30 acres of high-quality native wildlife habitats, including short grass shrubland, mixed shrub and forest, and full forest.
• Gift the restored property to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Management Practices

• Planted 19 acres of grassland prairie habitats, with a focus on plants that provide food to pollinators and songbirds. Dominant plants in the mix include nodding wild rye, side-oats grama, partridge pea, and purple coneflower.
• Planted and maintained 11 acres of trees to supplement the existing woodlot. Tree species include oaks (bur, white, and northern red), hickory (bitternut and shagbark), black walnut, and American basswood.
• The Fox Unit officially became the Fox Nature Preserve, part of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex in 2020. This ensures that the property will be preserved and maintained for generations to come.

An image of a great horned owl. Credit: Aimee Arent, Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Project Links

• Project Rack Card: Fox Property Restoration Unit
• Data Management and Delisting System Entry: Fox Property Restoration Unit
• From Friends of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: On Fox Nature Preserve
• From Friends of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: Restoration Work and the Future of Fox Nature Preserve

Project Partners

This project is led by the Friends of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, in conjunction with the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and Ohio EPA.

Photo credits:
Banner image: Vince Capozziello, Friends of Ottawa Wildlife Refuge (FONWR) volunteer
Landscape photo and golden eagle photo: Vince Capozziello, FONWR volunteer
Great horned owl photo: Aimee Arent, FONWR staff