County, village creek project proceeding

Larry Limpf

News Editor

Walbridge Village Council Wednesday heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the village to enter into an agreement with the Wood County commissioners for an ecological design and riparian project along Dry Creek.
The county has been awarded a grant of $580,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the project and the county engineer’s office will oversee the work.
In 2018, the engineer’s office began working with the EPA to identify potential projects to improve the habitat in what has been designated the Maumee Area of Concern. An undeveloped 34.2-acre parcel in the Village of Walbridge that abuts Dry Creek has been selected. The parcel sits along Walbridge Road east of East Broadway.
The U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement defines Areas of Concern as “geographical areas designated by the parties where significant impairment of beneficial uses has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.”
The Maumee Area of Concern covers about 787 square miles, including several watersheds draining to Lake Erie.
Under the village-county agreement, the Dry Creek project is to be completed by June 30, 2024 unless modified by mutual agreement.
“The idea is to alleviate some of the water pressure that comes from the west,” said Walbridge mayor Ed Kolanko. “With the recent heavy rains we continue to see pressure on our creeks on both sides and we’re trying to make a difference. It’s not going to solve the overall problem because the creek should be cleaned out from Walbridge through Ottawa County all the way out to the lake.”
Kevin Laughlin, geographic information system coordinator at the county engineer’s office, last year said the Walbridge site qualified for non-competitive Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding through the U.S. EPA.
“As it stands now, the project is two-fold. Firstly, we will make alterations to the banks of Dry Creek and the stream itself, which will have beneficial impacts for wildlife,” he said, “Secondly, we will work in upland areas, which will consist of constructed wetlands or floodplain restoration. In addition, to clear habitat improvements, these restorations will also present co-benefits for water quality (nutrients and sediment) and water quantity (potential flooding) abatement,” he said.


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