Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Typical wetlands in the Lake Erie Marsh Region
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a 6,704-acre property located in the Lake Erie Marsh Region, a region of large import to thousands of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and wading birds. The Lake Erie Marsh Region is a leftover from the days of the Great Black Swamp. The Great Black Swamp was a glacially-fed wetlands that formed along the southwest shore of Glacial Lake Maumee and extended across northwestern Ohio into northeastern Indiana. The swamp was there until the majority of it was drained in the mid-1800's and became very fertile farmland. That draining also killed off many of the mosquitos and malaria became a problem no longer for the human invaders. The swamp also served a good purpose during the 1835-1836 Toledo War: the Ohio and Michigan militias couldn't find each other in the swamp to fight... It's only been in the last 60 years that efforts have been made to return any of the land to its former natural state. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is one of those efforts.
The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network has designated Ottawa NWR as a site of regional importance. To go further, the American Bird Conservancy has designated the refuge as an Important Bird Area, too.