WE ARE LOSING THE BAY, PIECE BY PIECE, AS PARTS OF IT KEEP BEING SACRIFICED TO THE SPOILS OF AGRICULTURE.
Due to agricultural run-off in the Maumee River, the Western basin of Lake Erie, including the Maumee Bay, requires extensive dredging to keep the Federal Navigation/Shipping Channel and the Port of Toledo open for business.
Since the 1960’s the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority have been diking off sections of the Maumee Bay and filling them with dredge spoils.
In the 1960’s, the US Army Corps of Engineers diked off 130 acres of the bay to build Grassy Island and have a place to dump material dredged from the Navigation Channel. Because Grassy Island is a Federal confined dredge disposal site, the Toledo Port Authority cannot use it to dispose of the material it dredges from areas of the Port that are not part of the Federal Channel, such as the freighter berths.
In the 1970’s the Toledo Port Authority diked off an even larger area to build Facility 3 and have a place to dump the material it dredges from the Port of Toledo. Over time, Facility 3 has grown to more then 550 acres and is used as a dredge containment facility by both the Port and the Corps of Engineers.
Combined, Grassy Island and Facility 3 have filled 680 acres of the Western end of the Maumee Bay with dredged materials. For perspective, 680 acres is larger than Pearson MetroPark and is equivalent to 515 football fields, including end zones.
LOSING THE BAY TO DIKED OFF ISLANDS ONLY TELLS HALF THE STORY.
When an area of the Maumee Bay is filled, the filled area is only part of what is lost. These man-made islands partition off the Bay, making other areas unsuitable for recreation. A great example of this is Grassy Island. It is only a 130 acre island, but because of it’s location, it makes an additional 350 acres unsuitable for recreation in one form or another.
TODAY, THE COASTAL OFFICE OF ODNR AND THE PORT AUTHORITY WANT TO SACRIFICE MORE OF THE BAY TO THE SPOILS OF AGRICULTURE.
The Coastal office of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Toledo Port Authority are working together to create 2 more diked islands in the Western end of the Maumee Bay, the “Grassy Island Wetland” and the “Cullen Bay Wetland”. They claim these wetlands are for “water quality” and will filter excess nutrients coming down the Maumee River from the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (a.k.a. CAFO’S or factory farms) before they can reach Lake Erie and cause the Harmful Algal Blooms.
There are two problems with this claim: 1) by the time they get to the Maumee Bay, the nutrients are already in the Lake, as Maumee Bay is part of Lake Erie; and 2) as is explained more thoroughly in the cost/benefit analysis, the Cullen Park wetland will only remove approximately 14/10,000ths of the phosphorous entering the Lake from Ohio Tributaries.
These wetlands will fill approximately another 170 acres of the Maumee Bay and render even more unsuitable for recreation. If these wetlands are not stopped, more than half of the Western end of the Maumee Bay will be rendered unsuitable for recreation. This is an area 3 times the size of Wildwood MetroPark,
The Maumee Bay is Toledo’s Greatest Natural Resource. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources should be protecting and preserving it. If ODNR can’t, we need to stand up and fight for it ourselves.
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