Medina County Park District - Litchfield Nature Preserve
Davey Resource Group’s experts restored 108 acres of the Litchfield Wetland Nature Preserve for the Medina County Park District, re-establishing important habitats.
Restoring Former Farmlands
Medina County Park District (MCPD) was awarded an H2Ohio Grant by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund a wetland restoration project on a 145-acre property that was acquired by MCPD using funding from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. Approximately 102 acres of the site had been farmed up to the end of 2021 through a land management agreement. The Litchfield Wetland Nature Preserve project included construction of 86 acres of wetlands punctuated by 22 acres of upland habitat in the formerly farmed field, invasive vegetation control, as well as installation of passive recreational amenities.
Davey Resource Group (DRG) and Marks Construction, Inc. (Marks) were chosen as the design-build team. DRG was responsible for site assessments, design, engineering, permitting, and restoration planting, while Marks was responsible for restoration construction. The restoration plan was designed so that the site would support a diverse assemblage of habitats including forested wetlands, scrub/shrub wetlands, deep emergent wetland, open water areas, a stormwater wetland feature, and upland mosaic.
To convert the farm field to wetland habitat, construction activities included:
- excavation of hummocks and pools to create macro- and microtopographic features
- construction of several shallow, broad berms to retain water to promote development of emergent and shallow open water areas
- roughening of the soil surface through construction activities and discing to interrupt and slow water drainage across the site
- installation of rocked spillways, culverts and agri-drains to connect wetlands throughout the site and act as a low-maintenance, passive way to maintain wetland hydrology while still maintaining overall site drainage
Boosting Habitat Diversity Through Planting
A diversity of custom native wetland and upland seed mixes was disseminated across the restored areas after reaching final grades. Where feasible, seed was dispersed via drone by a DRG licensed FAA drone pilot. A mix of native live stakes, woody bare root and container plants were planted throughout the wetland restoration areas.
Park infrastructure was also a part of the design, and included the installation of a 30-stall parking lot with vault-style restroom, 1.75 miles of gravel trail, a boardwalk, scenic overlook mounds, and an observation deck to establish public access amenities and create viewsheds throughout the preserve.