Stream/Wetland Management

Stream/Wetland Management

Streams and wetlands are very important landscapes that are responsible for helping move water through a watershed on its way to Lake Erie.

They also serve as essential nursery habitat to support our multi-billion dollar commercial fishing industry. Sadly many of our streams and wetlands are not in good health but conservation practices could help change that.

Buffers and Filter Strips

Buffers and Filter Strips help to reduce sedimentation and nutrient runoff into the Lake Erie watershed. We love to maximize our acres but we lose little and again a lot when we buffer our streams, ditches, and wetlands with grass or trees. Any buffer is better than none at all but we love to see over 10ft on ditches, 20ft on streams, and 50ft on rivers. Of course, every buffer needs to be designed to meet the particular objectives of the property owner and the unique qualities of the associated site.

Find out how Lake Erie CREP can help.

Wetlands

Wetlands permanently or semi-permanently saturated lands that develop unique soil and plants that are adapted to being water logged. They are more than just a swamp or “that wet spot” and they are nature’s kidneys and they deserve our respect. While providing unique habitat for our wildlife they also work hard to store stormwater and filter pollutants. Ohio has lost over 90% of our wetlands through drainage improvement projects and development.

Wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. Before you dig, fill, clear, or tile you should always get a wetland determination through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Find out how Lake Erie CREP can help.

Stream Restoration

With the loss of wetlands and the increase of development our streams often get more storm flows then they can handle. As a result, our streams flood and banks can be ripped apart losing soil, vegetation, and even large trees. When streambanks become unstable the potential of erosion increased with each rain. Depending on the erosion type restoration or revetment may warranted to halt further damage.

To prevent streambank erosion it is always important to leave a stream some room with a buffer of natural vegetation. Plant roots (especially willows and native grasses), act like rebar in the soil. It is always best to leave existing vegetation rather than cut it all down…once lost it often is difficult and expensive to reestablish.