The Henry County commissioners Tuesday morning officially gave their approval of an effort to create a wildlife habitat along the Maumee River near Grand Rapids.

Greg Carson of the Henry-Wood Sportsmans Alliance met with the board to discuss the group’s effort to secure grant funding to purchase 100 acres of land.

The group was formed in 2014, and since then has given out more than $100,000 in conservation grants, college scholarships and funds for habitat projects.

Currently, it is trying to buy the land near Grand Rapids, which could serve a variety of land conservation uses.

“Number one, we want to protect it from becoming a housing development,” Carson said. “Number two, it is key to all this Lake Erie stuff we talk about, it kind of protects and cleanses the water.”

Carson was referring to agricultural runoff that often ends up in the Maumee River and then is swept to Lake Erie. Such runoff, which can contain phosphorous and nitrogen, is being at least partially blamed for algal blooms growing annually in Lake Erie.

Carson said the land is home to more than 140 plant species and more than 120 wildlife species.

“We are going to use it for limited hunting possibilities, only for youth events, some veterans events and some women-only events,” Carson said.

Other possibilities include nature trails, a parking lot to provide access to the towpath walking trail and horseback riding trails. It would also be used to demonstrate conservation practices, such as windbreaks, wildflower and pollinator plots and wildlife food plots.

It would be accessible to the general public for hiking, bird watching and fishing.

“It’s mostly going to be a conservation area, it’s going to go into conservancy, so it’s going to be like that forever,” Carson said.

He added the Washington Township trustees have already signed off on the project. The location is near Township Road 2B.

The cost to purchase the land is $275,000.

“For Henry County, I think it’s a pretty good jewel,” Carson said. “Hopefully, a place people can enjoy for years and years.”

Carson said other projects the alliance has been a part of over the years includes giving money to the rebuild of the Deshler reservoir, stocking reservoirs in the area with fish and giving grants to land owners who want to leave an area of corn standing for wildlife.

The commissioners approved a letter of support for the alliance to submit an application to Clean Ohio, which helps to fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive eocological areas and stream corridors.

In other matters, the commissioners also:

•Met with Cathy Behnfeldt to discuss 2020 health insurance enrollment.

•Approved an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction subsidy greant agreement for TCAP Program for 2020-21.

Thursday’s agenda includes Henry County Assistant Prosecutor Katie Nelson at 9 a.m. for a legal update.

Email comments to briank@northwestsignal.net

I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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