​Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery

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​Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery

David Kriska, from Cleveland Museum of Natural History, will discuss the effects of the restoration of Mentor Marsh on biodiversity.

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About this event

As one of the most species-rich sites on the Great Lakes shoreline, Mentor Marsh is a National Park Service-designated National Natural Landmark (1966). The Marsh was named Ohio’s first State Nature Preserve in 1971 and is a National Audubon Society Important Birding Area. This 806-acre wetland suffered dramatically in 1966 when salt-mine tailings leached into Blackbrook Creek. By 1973 most of the swamp forest trees and marsh plants had died, and the 4-mile-long wetland basin was overtaken by reed grass (Phragmites australis), a 15’ to 24’ tall nonnative invasive plant from Eurasia.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History began the large-scale restoration of Mentor Marsh in 2015. Guided by Museum restoration ecologists, the Phragmites monoculture was sprayed with an aquatic-safe herbicide and then physically mashed flat to allow native plants to grow. Over 180 species of native plant species have been documented sprouting from the soil seed bank, including 3 state-listed plants. Rare marsh birds—such as American and Least Bitterns, and Virginia, King and Sora Rails are nesting, and wading birds and waterfowl are now abundant. Yellow Perch fingerlings are now using the Marsh as a nursery and Northern Pike are spawning. We will discuss recent restoration updates and the challenges of working "waist deep in the muck"!

​Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery image

David Kriska joined the Museum in 2003 working for the Natural Areas Division. He specializes in rare plant and animal surveys, community ecology, and habitat restoration.

Since 2008 he’s helped the Natural Areas Division acquire nearly 2,000 acres of critical habitat- the Museum currently has 66 scientific natural areas spread across 12,000 acres that contain unique natural communities, such as old growth forests, marshes, bogs, swamps and fens.

​These natural areas are high-quality habitats and many of them are globally rare. Together they protect 250 different kinds of endangered, threatened, or rare plant and animal species, and represent the remarkable biological diversity that was once widespread throughout the region.

​Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery image

David Kriska in the marsh installing plant plugs.

​Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery image

For additional questions email info@kirtlandbirdclub.org

www.kirtlandbirdclub.org

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