Save Maumee to plant 1,100 trees

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A volunteer plants a tree during a Save Maumee tree-planting event in October 2016. The April planting will be based at three parks in New Haven.

Save Maumee believes Earth Day is a time for action.

So, from April 21-23, the group aims to plant 1,100 trees in Trier Ditch.

Save Maumee began when Abigail King bought a house along the Maumee River. She was looking forward to her “beachfront” property, she said, but was told by many she shouldn’t go in the river due to its condition.

In 2005, Save Maumee planted its first trees in an effort to improve that water quality.

Recently, Save Maumee received a Federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Along with matching funds and donations, the organization has about $150,000 to help implement the Upper Maumee Watershed Management Plan.

“Rivers are important because water is life,” King said “Our water sources are really important; that’s why the federal government is getting little groups money — all the easy fixes they have already tried.”

Save Maumee’s goal is to plant 2,780 trees in the “most degraded” ditches of the Maumee River by 2018, including Trier, Bullerman and Sixmile ditches.

In three days over April 21-23, they hope to plant 1,100 of those trees with the community’s help.

On Friday and Sunday they will be planting near Heatherwood Park, with Saturday’s event — expected to be the largest — at Moser Park.

The month before, the organization will be removing invasive species in preparation for the plantings, King said.

Planting trees in ditches may not be the most glamorous work, but King said it is important.

Shade over the water can increased dissolved oxygen in the river, helping the animals who call it home, she said. In addition, trees hold sediment, which King said is the “No. 1 problem” leading to degraded water quality. Trees can also capture excess nutrients and phosphorus in the water, with a tree on average being able to absorb 59 gallons of water per year of life.

By planting in flood-prone areas, “trees help with holding and retaining water on land longer instead of flooding areas downstream,” she said.

King said they’ve had success at prior Earth Day events, with more than 260 people logging more than 900 volunteer hours in a single day.

This year’s plantings will take place rain or shine, King said. She recommended that those attending dress for the weather, wearing boots or “real shoes” and long pants.

The event is family friendly and will include live entertainment as well, King said.

In addition to Earth Day plantings, Save Maumee has also hosted an annual canoe cleanup and a seed harvest in partnership with Eagle Marsh or Fox Island.

“We want to have clean water and clean things that live in there, so everybody is better and healthier,” King said.

For more information, visit Save Maumee’s website at savemaumee.org.