EcoTrack 11: Exploring Old Woman Creek by canoe

Report by Chris Vickers - email
Posted by LS

Exploring the Old Woman Creek estuary is an adventure in itself with a canoe and paddle. Here you quickly learn why these wetlands are so important to the environment.

"One of the things that wetlands do is act as a sponge, and so a lot of the sediment that's coming up the watershed from activities off the land settles out in these wetlands," explains Frank Lopez, manager at Old Woman Creek.

That makes protecting this vast preserve a big task.

Lopez tells us, "When the lake levels started to drop a little bit, we started to see a lot of invasive plants, particularly Fragmities and things like that moving in."

Which is why scientific measurements and frequent observations are important to monitor the health and changes to the estuary. Though, the main goal for those on this trip is to have fun while learning about nature.

"We'll have up to our ten boats out there, with families and kids and they will all be experiencing the wetlands together which is really gratifying," says Lopez.

The estuary is full of unique plants, fish, turtles, and rare birds. If you are interested in this exploration adventure, it's a hands-on experience.

The great part of learning about coastal wetlands is you get to dig in and do it yourself. The estuary connects to the lake, making this one of the most dynamic parts of the ecosystem.

Lopez adds, "It is like a whole other world. I mean we came out of a stream that is fairly tranquil and quiet because the barrier beach is closed. But right out here is Lake Erie, one of the most important lakes in the world."

This makes the estuaries job of protecting the lake that much more important. "Lake Erie is a drinking water source for millions of Ohioans, and coastal wetlands are very valuable at filtering pollutants that come down through the watershed."