The Bloomfield Swamp has been fragmented, drained, and altered. Thanks to thoughtful land conservation by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) in 2012, part of the historic Bloomfield Swamp has been brought back to life. WRLC acquired approximately 1,100 acres in the headwaters of Rock Creek, a major tributary of the Grand River, for land conservation. This purchase created an opportunity to restore wetlands impacted by decades of agricultural drainage and peat mining.
The WRLC obtained $3 million in grant funds through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program; Clean Ohio program; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). Grant funding allowed design and permitting to start in 2017. Construction began in the spring of 2021 and reached substantial completion in November 2021. Planting in the spring of 2022 completed restoration work while invasive species management through the remainder of 2022 will ensure successful establishment of native wetland plant communities.
Several challenges were overcome during the design and permitting phases, including those associated with the project scale. Impacts and fragmented wetlands with restoration potential were spread over the entire 1,100 acres, stretching three miles. Documentation of existing conditions required a blend of remote sensing data, supplemental surveying, and ground truthing. The team overcame poor accessibility. Drainage had to be maintained for adjacent properties and agricultural land protected from flooding. Overcoming those challenges resulted in the restoration of approximately 250 acres of hydrologically connected wetlands, while improving site access for future maintenance and conservation activities.