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Published: Sunday, 10/14/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Camp turning into classroom

$1.36M grant to improve water quality

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kris Patterson of Partners for Clean Streams looks over the Ottawa River near Lake Sawyer at Camp Miakonda. She said the site will be appealing for Boy Scouts to earn merit badges. Kris Patterson of Partners for Clean Streams looks over the Ottawa River near Lake Sawyer at Camp Miakonda. She said the site will be appealing for Boy Scouts to earn merit badges.
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In a few years, Camp Miakonda will be able to be used as an ecological learning center. When area nonprofit Partners for Clean Streams was awarded a $1.36 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant in 2010, the camp area was highlighted because it was viewed as a site that could be used to protect and restore the water quality of the region.

The project will help restore wetlands and habitat areas and stabilize erosion along the bank of the Ottawa River. Located on the fringe of the Oak Openings region of the Maumee Area of Concern, the camp is situated along the waterway, which enters North Maumee Bay.

Kris Patterson, executive director of Partners for Clean Streams, said the site will be appealing for Boy Scouts to earn merit badges.

“Partners for Clean Streams loves the idea that this is a great education and outreach area,” she said. “The Scouts love the idea that their scouts will be able to use the lake again, [and] learn about things they need to do for badges, like fishing, kayaking, canoeing.”

Partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and the Army Corps of Engineers on the master plan for habitat restoration, the nonprofit noted several long-term outcomes.

“Our focus is on the Ottawa River and the tie to the ecology of the whole watershed,” Ms. Patterson said. “We’re bringing in thousands of native plants.”

She said that in the last five years, much funding has originated from the federal and state levels to help clean up the Ottawa River.

Ms. Patterson said the project has three primary goals: habitat restoration, stream-bank restoration and erosion control, and maximizing the diversity of plants. All these steps will help improve the quality of the Ottawa River and will help increase the in-stream habitat for fish and macroinvertebrates.

By addressing multiple issues through the project, the nonprofit is aiming to restore some of the wetlands and educate others about ecological diversity. One of the ditches that connects into the property, called Cunningham Ditch, will help the scouts learn about the watershed and the surrounding environment firsthand.

“We have recreated the bends, and put the stone in, so sediment doesn’t just wash away again. This area’s going to be planted. The scouts can come down, sit on the old benches, and learn about the bugs that like the streams, [and] learn about watersheds and then learn about the plants,” Ms. Patterson said.

The bulk of construction is set to be finished by next month, she said.



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