The Duke expansion property in Troy is getting spruced up for spring thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. USFWS biologist Donnie Knight has been clearing the dead honeysuckle and tree of heaven using a forestry mulcher. The removal of the debris will allow the ongoing monitoring and management of invasive species on the 29-acre parcel of land along the Great Miami River.

By controlling the invasive species, existing trees will be healthier, and the native seed bank of trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants will be able to once again grow. These deep-rooted native species will provide better food, cover, nectar sources and host plants and will also hold the soil better and uptake nutrients and sediment during high water events. Additionally, the newly cleared ground will allow additional surveys to be completed for the upcoming off channel wetland project on this site. 

The large off channel wetland currently being designed on this property will not only provide fish and wildlife habitat but will also provide flood energy reduction in the river and sediment and nutrient uptake from flood waters. With the additional flood storage capacity provided by wetlands of this type, the citizens along the Great Miami River will benefit by flood reduction. This benefit is directly related to the number and size of off channel wetlands that are installed on a watershed.

This is the first wetland of this type on the Great Miami River and will be used as an educational opportunity to explain the benefits of off channel wetlands for fish and wildlife resources, water quality, farmers, recreational landowners, and citizens along the river. Projects like this will reduce stream velocities during high water events by reconnecting the river and tributaries to their floodplain.

Fish species that utilize off channel floodplain wetlands will have access to historic spawning and nursery habitat that has been reduced along most of our streams due to channel scour that has been occurring for many years and has left many of our floodplains perched above the rivers during all but the largest flood events.

This off channel wetland project is in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, the Miami County Park District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fisheries programs administered out of the Cartersville Fish and Wildlife Conservation office.  Efforts are currently being made to obtain the necessary funding to complete this project.