East River Drive Wetland: Project Information

Project Team:

City of Defiance
Primary Contact:
Jennifer English: 419.784.2101
Secondary Contact:
Melinda Sprow: 419.784.2249
Design/Build Team:
Biohabitats & Meadville Land Service
Funding Provided by H2Ohio

Employee parking

Parking within access/staging
area off of Burning Tree Drive


Construction Duration:
6-8 weeks of construction
(weather dependent)

Anticipated Start: 
March 8, 2024

Substantial Completion:
April 19- April 26, 2024

Construction Access/Phasing:

Project Location:   East River Drive, Defiance, OH 43512 (Access will be off of Burning Tree Drive)

Workdays/Hours:   Monday – Thursday between 7a – 7p

Special Conditions:    In general, no work will occur on weekends unless required by ODNR deadlines. Prior permission/approval will be obtained through City of Defiance.

Construction Entrance:
Access Area 1: 41.291449, -84.330730 (off Burning Tree Drive). MLS may widen the entrance to allow for easier access/turning radius for trucks. No impact to trees.

Construction Phasing:
Construction shall follow the approved sequence of construction. Construction is anticipated to occur in 4-5 phases:

PHASE 1General Site Setup

  • Layout and staking
  • Establish construction entrance – inc. air bridges over gas line
  • Erosion & Sediment Control setup, including mulch access road
  • Tree markout and review prior to clearing,
  • Maintenance of traffic setup
  • Utility markout, including gas line (Anthony)

PHASE 2: Clearing and grubbing

PHASE 3: Restoration Earthwork: Sequencing – stream first, take trees as needed for restoration features. Will then work themselves out, reclaiming the mulch road. Move onto berms and incorporate mulch from road into wetlands. Work their way out towards Burning Tree Dr.

PHASE 4: Decompaction, temporary and native seeding/live stake installation

PHASE 5: Woody species/plug planting – likely last week of April/early May – plugs by early June

FEBRUARY 26, 2023


Chronolog is a research tool the enables organizations worldwide to monitor the environment and inspire stewardship. A “chronolog” photo station has been set up at the East River Drive wetland project. Local residents and visitors to the site are encouraged to participate by aligning their phone to the device, then snapping a shot and emailing it to chronolog. These images are automatically added to the online time lapse for the site: Defiance East River Drive at H2Ohio | Chronolog

DECEMBER 8, 2023

Project Meeting:

The City of Defiance hosted a public meeting to review the East River Drive wetland project and inform residents of what to expect over the next several months.

This PDF outlines information that was presented at the November 21, 2023 meeting.

View/Download the Presentation PDF

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Restoring Wetlands, Improving Water Quality

The City of Defiance, through the H2Ohio program, will establish a wetland to improve water quality in the Maumee River Watershed.
Wetlands reduce phosphorus runoff and offer additional environmental benefits by absorbing pollutants, slowing down the movement of water, offering a natural filtering process, and preventing the further movement of contaminated matter.

The project involves restoring a 40-acre site, currently farmed, to a 34-acre floodplain wetland and providing additional habitat restoration features on the remainder of the project site. The funding for the project comes from the H2Ohio Program, which is focused on restoring wetlands to enhance nutrient retention and assimilation and reduce nutrient loading to Lake Erie (and eventually throughout the State of Ohio). Given its location in the landscape, this project represents a unique opportunity to achieve the H2Ohio program objectives and create a vibrant and inspiring place for the Defiance community to see firsthand how a site can be transformed to provide improved water quality habitat and aesthetic benefits.


The problems of Lake Erie and the Maumee River drainage are well known from a watershed perspective and include excessive nutrient loadings. These nutrient loadings (dissolved reactive phosphorus, nitrogen, etc.) stimulate seasonal Microcystis blooms in Lake Erie. The presence of the HAB (hazardous algal bloom) poses a public health risk and impacts economic activity by deterring vacationers and area residents from the Western Basin when blooms are prevalent. In response to these problems, the State of Ohio has initiated the H2Ohio program, which focuses on working collaboratively with the farming community to reduce nutrient loadings by applying a range of best management practices. In addition, conservation groups, Park Districts, and communities, like the City of Defiance, can apply for grant funding to implement wetland restoration projects that achieve the H2Ohio program goals. At the same time, the program is an opportunity for participants to leverage the funds to create community open space and ecologically beneficial amenities and opportunities for public education to understand better the problems occurring in Lake Erie.

The City of Defiance has been an advocate for bringing citizens back to its waterfront. In recent years, it has been working collaboratively with other communities in the upper Maumee River Watershed to educate citizens on watershed and natural resources stewardship benefits. Participating in the H2Ohio program is an example of the City of Defiance’s continued leadership to solve water quality problems and advance initiatives for the community’s health, welfare, and safety.


The primary design goal for the project is to convert agricultural land into a wetland/riparian complex with an improved hydrologic connection to the Maumee River. With restored hydrology, the system will increase nutrient uptake, reduce sedimentation and erosion, increase wetland habitat and improve riparian habitat.

Proposed Project Schedule
Winter 2022:
Engage Biohabitats as Design/Build Firm biohabitats.com
Spring/Summer 2022:
Conceptual Design, Permitting & Public Outreach
Fall 2022:
Plan Approval & Potential to Begin Construction
Winter/Spring/Summer 2023:
Stream Restoration & Wetland Creation
Active Maintenance During Establishment Period
2026 and Future:
Ongoing Maintenance

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