Habitat Restoration in Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Maumee River

NOAA-GLC Regional Habitat Restoration Partnership

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are leading efforts to restore several critical Great Lakes Areas of Concerns (AOCs)— the worst “toxic hotspots” in the region. In 1987, the Maumee was designated an AOC due to environmental degradation and pollution. Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was distributed by the Environmental Protection Agency to a Regional Partnership between NOAA and GLC and was allocated to the restoration of the Maumee River.

Environmental Benefits:

  • Restore approximately 8.5 acres of emergent coastal wetland and 6.7 acres of submerged coastal wetland
  • Enhance fish and wildlife habitat
  • Restore Fish habitat connectivity with Maumee River

Community Benefits:

  • Creation of a downtown nature space
  • Improve water quality and ecosystem health
  • Improve fishing and fish spawning

Economic Benefits:

  • Increase recreation, tourism, and sport-fishing opportunities

Maumee River Habitat Restoration Project

Photo of Penn 7 restoration site (Photo by City of Toledo)

Located in northwest Ohio, the Maumee Area of Concern (AOC) is comprised of 775 square miles, including several creeks within the Maumee River watershed. In 1987, This portion of the Maumee River was designated as an AOC under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In 1988, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, created the 74-member Maumee Remedial Action Plan Advisory Committee for the AOC. The Remedial Action Plan Stage I report was completed in 1992. The Maumee AOC has 9 remaining Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) that impair waterways that ultimately flow into Lake Erie. 


In 2015, the City of Toledo implemented a $175,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant awarded by NOAA to assess the feasibility of restoration work on a former Confined Disposal Facility on the northern shoreline of the Maumee River. The 2016 NOAA-GLC partnership funded the engineering and design phase of this restoration project. A new 2019 NOAA-GLC partnership will provide additional funding for the implementation phase which will create ideal fish nursery habitat as well as emergent and submergent wetlands used by a variety of native species. Final implementation will address the AOC’s Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat and degradation of fish and wildlife populations BUIs. Restoration activities will result in the creation of 8.5 acres of emergent coastal wetland and 6.7 acres of submerged coastal wetland.


Over $2 million has been awarded to this project by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership. The  GLRI is a federal program designed to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — the Great Lakes.

For More Information

Eric Ellis
Coastal Conservation and Habitat Restoration
Project Manager
Great Lakes Commission
[email protected]

Karen Ranney Wolkins
City of Toledo Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
[email protected]

Jenny Carter-Cornell, APR
Funding Practice Leader
Hull & Associates
[email protected]

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