Blackbrook Audubon welcomes Bill Zawiski of the Ohio EPA as he presents “Mentor Marsh Salt Fill Remediation: A Story Worth Sharing” 7:00 pm Tuesday, January 17 at Penitentiary Glen Reservation.
The program is open to the public and will describe the damage done to the Marsh in the 1960s when salt-mine tailings were dumped into Blackbrook Creek. This action killed the surrounding swamp forest and allowed an invasive tall grass, Phragmites, to take over. Thanks to the settlement of a lawsuit, the remediation project began this summer and by the end of November had removed over 178,000 tons of salt and fly ash in 9,001 truckloads. About nine acres at the south corner of the Marsh’s eastern basin will be transferred to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and they will begin adding native wetland plants to restore biodiversity, much as they have done in the other 800 acres of the Marsh.
Once the dense reed grass was removed, wetland plants and shrubs missing for decades sprang from the seedbank, creating habitat for insects, amphibians and birds. Northern Pike are spawning here and Yellow Perch fingerlings use the Marsh as a nursery. Wildlife observers are seeing otter and beaver with more frequency.
The National Park Service designated Mentor Marsh as a National Natural Landmark in 1966. In 1971, Ohio dedicated Mentor Marsh as its first State Nature Preserve.
Program attendees are asked to bring their own mugs for coffee. Penitentiary Glen is at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland.
Blackbrook Audubon covers Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake Counties as the local chapter of National Audubon Society. For more information, email email@example.com. Programs cancelled due to weather are announced on the iAlert system.