Dr. L.J. Darr
Memorial Wetlands Restoration Project
Since 1953, the Oak Harbor Conservation Club has maintained a distinguished history as a leading conservation organization in Ottawa County. We are avid conservationists with many ongoing projects and programs such as:
- Annually purchasing standing grain for wildlife maintenance and cover
- Maintaining approximately 200 Wood Duck nesting boxes within the county
- Leasing approximately 1000 acres of farm land yearly for the release of pheasants
- Encouraging soil conservation by the Ottawa County farming community
- Tree purchases and planting programs
- Maintaining activity in the action group of the Lake Erie Marshes Implementation Team
- Maintaining scholarships for students who are presently enrolled in programs for future careers in soil and water engineering or as State Game Protectors
- Constructing and donating both bird and bat houses to county residents
- Maintaining several county roads through the Adopt-a-Road Program, and
- Maintaining an active educational program for hunting, archery and shooting
- Holding an annual “Kid’s Fishing Derby”
- Offering sport fishing education programs
- Supporting the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Matches at nearby Camp Perry
- Providing a fishing rod and reel to every fifth grade student in Ottawa County to promote sport fishing.
Purpose and Objectives
This project is an excellent contribution to the Lake Erie Marshes’ Wetland Restoration Program, and has received a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) stamp of approval. The project includes:
- Construction of 1.5 miles of river dikes
- Construction of 70 acres of upland wetland dikes, providing essential resting habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife populations
- Excavation and stocking of a 10 acre fishpond
- Refurbishment and restoration of farm equipment and buildings
- Rest 80 acres of farmland over ten years using the Conservation Reserve Program as set-aside property
- Construction of a 100-yard rifle range, as well as a trap and skeet facility to teach hunter training courses and firearms safety programs
- Through project installation, coordination with the O.D.N.R., Camp Sabroski and private landowners in the area, effectively maintain over 475 acres bordering the Toussaint River and Packer Creek area in perpetually natural habitat .
Club personnel are always available to provide guided tours of the parcel.
The Oak Harbor Conservation Club has held a 501(c)4 non-profit tax status. With the implementation of the Dr. L.J. Darr Memorial Wetland Restoration Project, it has retained a new 501(c)3 non-taxable classification from the I.R.S. for the project.
Staff and Organization
Oak Harbor Conservation Club is presently a non-profit incorporation within the State of Ohio with over 150 members. Some of the labor for the project will be provided by club members, other local individuals or organizations. Administrative and technical support will be provided bythe Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, the Wildlife Legislative Fund, and the Ottawa County Engineer. Many of the materials needed for the project will be solicited through the club’s 501(c)4 and new 501(c)3.
Farmland, in this and other areas important as a flyway for migratory birds, is fast disappearing to rural and urban development. In 1990 the Oak Harbor Conservation Club purchased the Markley/Villhauer property northeast of Oak Harbor in Section #7 of Carroll Twp., Ottawa County, Ohio. The property was purchased as an effort to establish a large private-land conservation area to stem the loss of habitat for migratory birds in a major flyway, and as an individual club effort to provide habitat for resting and breeding birds. The overall goal of this purchase was to restore this section of land to it’s natural wetland condition as part of cooperative program with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through the Lake Erie Marsh Restoration Program. Eventually, we hope to join with the United Methodist Conference Camp Sabroski, in order to provide conservation classes and projects for needy inter-city children who come to this camp during the summer months. Camp Sabroski is located just north of our property.
Of the 114 acres originally purchased, approximately 34 acres is presently being reclaimed from the bordering river. This acreage was lost gradually over the last 40 years, but high water events in the 1970’s catastrophically destroyed the northern and eastern dike system. Replacement of these dikes has been essential to our wetland restoration project. Without these barriers, no water control is present, further erosion is inevitable, and water-bottom growth for wildlife maintenance would be nearly impossible.
Those committed as partners to the purchase and restoration of the Dr. L.J. Darr memorial Wetlands Restoration Project partners are:
- The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America
- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources:
– Hunter Education Division
– Environmental Division
– O.D.N.R. Findlay Office Real Estate Division
– Lake Erie Marshes Restoration Project (LEMIT)
– Crane Creek Wildlife Experimental Station
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
- The Ottawa County Soil & Water Conservation District
- The National Rifle Association
- Mr. Bruce Winters
- The Oak Harbor Conservation Club (501(c)3)
- The Oak Harbor Conservation Club (501(c)4)
- The Internal Revenue Service
- The 200th Red Horse Civil Engineering Squadron
- The Blade Newspaper
- Lucky Farmers
- Gordon Lumber
- Mr. Bob Sprouse
- Mr. O.E. Meyer
- Pheasants Forever
- Dr. Joseph Darr
- Brush – Wellmann Corporation
- Mr. Dan Pittman
- Martin Marietta
- Mr. C. Eric Hellmann
- Ottawa County
- Commercial Pump Service, Inc.
- U. S. Dept. of Agriculture
- Mike’s Auto Wrecking
- Mr. Leo Kimmet
- Gries Seed Farm
- Nickels Paint
- Other private individuals and organizations.