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Oak Openings Conservation Area

Oak Openings Conservation Area: Four separate tracts of land (~30 acres) were restored to valuable quality Oak Openings habitat to provide protection for a number of threatened and endangered species and to create corridors between neighboring tracts of protected areas.



Metroparks Toledo acquired 31 acres of land featuring high-quality habitat within the Oak Openings Region of western Lucas County, Ohio. Four separate tracts of land were acquired within targeted areas designated as Priority Conservation Areas by the Oak Openings Green Ribbon Initiative. These are areas where scientists have determined that additional habitat protection/restoration will provide the most benefit to plant and animal species of greatest conservation concern.



The Oak Openings is widely regarded as one of Ohio’s most biologically diverse regions, with one-third of the state’s rare plant and animal species found within an area representing just 0.5% of Ohio’s total land area. Historically, the Oak Openings region was dominated by expansive oak savannas and wet prairie swales. Since European settlement, the region’s natural communities have been systematically altered through drainage, agriculture, fire exclusion, and urban expansion. Protection and restoration of Oak Openings habitat provides the following benefits:

  • Provide habitat protection for threatened and endangered wildlife species,
  • Enhance habitat connectivity by creating corridors between existing protected parks and preserves, and
  • Improve water quality within the Lake Erie watershed through the protection of wetlands, floodplains, and uplands draining into the region’s rivers and streams.



  • Acquire at least 30 acres of existing high-quality habitat in the Oak Openings Region of Ohio;
  • Enhance/restore additional high-quality habitat to address the loss of wildlife habitat Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) in the Maumee Area of Concern; and
  • Permanently protect this habitat from the future redevelopment.



  • To prepare the project areas for native plantings, woody invasive plants such as glossy buckthorn that are encroaching on prairie and savanna habitats were removed using hydro-ax mowing and application of selective herbicides.
  • To enhance existing high-quality habitat, prescribed fire, mowing, and other best management practices were conducted.
  • To ensure a clean and safe environment for wildlife and people, trash and debris left behind by previous landowners were removed.





This project was a collaborative effort between Metroparks Toledo, The Nature Conservancy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with financial support provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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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.