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Hancock Parks District breaks ground on $1 million wetlands restoration project

One hundred acres of farmland at Oakwoods Nature Preserve will be transformed into vibrant wetlands.

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — A new project meant to help the water quality in Lake Erie is taking root in Hancock County.

Just south of Liberty-Benton High School, the Hancock Parks District is transforming a 100-acre farm field into 100 acres of restored wetlands.

The Oakwoods Wetlands Restoration project will not only beautify the area along Aurand Run Creek to its wetland origins, but the restoration will eventually help improve the water quality of Lake Erie; which is why the $1 million project is funded through the H2Ohio initiative.

"Well, these wetlands will filter a lot of the farm ground here which eventually runs into Aurand Run then into the Blanchard River which goes into the Maumee River in Toledo," Hancock Parks District Natural Resource Officer Chad Carroll said.

The wetlands are expected to be open to the public by mid to late summer, and will directly connect to the Oakwoods Nature Preserve on the south side of Aurand Run.

"Once everything is done, we're going to put hiking trails in. We're going to put in little observation mounds so people can walk through the wetlands or up to the wetlands and be able to view wildlife, plant life and everything," Carroll said.

He said that despite the cold temperatures typical for an Ohio winter, the current conditions are perfect for the work that needs done in the area. If the weather holds up, the heavy machinery could move out of the area, and the foundation set for the new wetlands within a few months.