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Hill Ditch Restoration at Toledo NST Center

Hill Ditch Restoration at Toledo Natural Science Technology Center: This project focuses on creating instread and floodplain habitat for fish and benthos by stabilizing streambanks against erosion.


Hill Ditch has headwaters in Sylvania Township and joins with the Ottawa River just west of the main campus of the University of Toledo. The section of Hill Ditch this project will restore runs south of Toledo Public School’s Natural Science Technology Center. It is directly upstream from the Toledo Botanical Gardens, where a stream restoration project was completed in 2013.


Hill Ditch is one of the Ottawa River’s longest tributaries, running through residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, and the campuses of Toledo Public School’s Natural Science Technology Center and the Toledo Botanical Gardens. This project’s primary goal is to improve habitat for fish and benthos in Hill Ditch. Benthos are organisms that live in the sediment or near the bottom of a water body, making up the vital base of aquatic food systems. This restoration provides the following benefits:

  • Fosters new instream and floodplain habitat for fish and benthos.
  • Stabilizes streambanks against erosion, reducing suspended solids sediment pollution.


  • Stabilizing approximately 700 feet of eroding stream bank through regrading and by utilizing living shoreline design concepts.
  • Enhance 650 feet of riparian (riverbank) buffer through native plantings.
  • Improve fish and benthos habitat by installing in-stream structures, including root wads, woody debris, and riffles.


  • Restoring natural curves to the waterway while regrading streambanks to make them less steep. These earthworks decrease the negative effects of past stream channelization.
  • Ditch restoration designs include root wads and rock riffle features, which will become homes for fish and benthos.
  • Bank stabilization through native plantings prevents loss of sediment due to erosion, maintaining the character of the habitat for years to come.



  • This project is led by Toledo Public Schools. Toledo Public Schools received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant from the US EPA.

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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.