Oregon council on Monday will consider approving a land lease agreement with the University of Toledo as part of the Wolf Creek Riparian Corridor restoration and sedimentation pond project that will reduce contaminants to Lake Erie.
As per the agreement, the university will lease a 6.214 acre city-owned parcel on Corduroy Road for the project.
The city received a $62,391 Coastal Management Assistance Grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to develop a Wolf Creek-Berger Ditch Corridor Restoration Plan, and to buy a portion of property along Wolf Creek for $20,000 for the Wolf Creek Riparian Corridor that will improve drainage for the Wolf Creek watershed.
The University of Toledo, as part of the Wolf Creek-Berger Ditch Corridor Restoration Plan, is proposing to construct a pilot wetland system located at Maumee Bay State Park to provide storm water treatment. The proposed wetland system will require 6.214 acres of land located upstream along Wolf Creek to provide sediment collection in order for the pilot wetland system to be successful.
The term of the lease agreement is 25 years.
“This project has been ongoing for some time,” said Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman at a committee of the whole on Monday.
The wetland restoration project will address long term issues that continue to affect the Maumee Bay area, including excess bacteria, which has led to the posting of advisories at Maumee Bay State Park’s beaches. It will also help tackle the lake’s harmful algae blooms. To reduce the blooms, the amount of dissolved phosphorus in Wolf Creek-Berger Ditch and other watersheds that drain into Maumee Bay must be reduced. Sedimentation – soil suspended in the water flow - is also a problem in the area. Sediments carry bacteria and nutrients.
“Their system is a new design where it involves subsurface treatment, meaning you’re going to pump storm water from Wolf Creek up into a higher area, then it will flow by gravity down through the soils that are manufactured for different plantings, and the roots will absorb nutrients and contaminants. That is the treatment system,” said Roman.
“With that type of soil that they’re using, what they don’t want is a bunch of sediment clogging up that natural filtration. Wolf Creek is a 12 square mile watershed, and Berger Ditch is four square miles. They both come together along North Curtice Road and head through the park and out to the beaches. The pilot wetland system is really for the beaches. It’s more of an educational research pilot project. For it to be successful, they need land upstream on Wolf Creek to act as a sediment collector,” said Roman.
The city will widen Wolf Creek upstream on property near the water plant that will help collect the sediment, reduce flooding and promote the destruction of bacteria, said Roman. UT will provide plantings, such as trees, as part of the project.
“The city has put a lot of money into sanitary sewers, and I truly believe it has reduced the amount of E.coli that’s in Wolf Creek,” said Roman. “But a good portion of Wolf Creek’s watershed is agricultural land – almost 70 percent. There’s also a good portion of the agricultural areas that are still on septic [systems]. So there’s still a need for this type of project. A lot can be learned from the University of Toledo’s subsurface design. We have nothing to lose with this lease agreement. We’re not putting any costs into these projects. I think it will do a lot of good.”
“With this agreement, the city stands to have a significant gain through the improvement on Wolf Creek at no cost to the city,” he said.