675-Acre Wetland Will Help Control Flooding, Create Wildlife Habitat
The Little River Wetlands Project has purchased 675 acres of floodplain in southwest Allen County to restore to natural wetlands. Closing on the property occurred on August 15, 2005.
Plans are underway to restore the 675-acre floodplain on the city's southwest side to natural wetlands. Fort Wayne-based Little River Wetlands Project spearheaded the effort to purchase and restore the acreage, known as Eagle Marsh, located in Aboite and Wayne townships. Eagle Marsh is adjacent to Fox Island County Park as well as the restored wetland on Engle Road. Altogether, it will create a 1,400-acre natural area in Allen County.
"This project will have a significant impact on flood control, water quality and wildlife habitat in Allen County and downstream to the Wabash River," said Paul McAfee, director for the Little River Wetlands Project. "It will also provide wonderful opportunities for walking, birding, photography and nature study."
Partners in this project are the federal Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), which is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Indiana Heritage Trust program, and the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. WRP will provide $1,200,000 toward the purchase price and will provide the restoration work. The Indiana Heritage Trust program is funded by the blue environmental license plates with the eagle on them. They are contributing $220,000 and will retain a 50% simple fee ownership of the property. The Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has committed $250,000. The Little River Wetlands Project has fundraised for the remaining amount.
"More than 84% of Indiana's wetlands have been drained over the years, endangering many species of plants and animals," said McAfee. "With our efforts at Eagle Marsh, we are restoring significant areas for the survival of these species."
If you would like to help or get involved with the Little River Wetlands Project, please contact Paul McAfee at 478-2515.