Community joins forces to save wetland

Middle Bass Island (AP) .............

Saving this Lake Erie resort island's last wetland has turned into a true group effort. The community, where the population dwindles to about 30 in the winter, has donated money to save the 22-acre wetland known as Hanck's Pond from developers.

A wildlife group has collected more than $30,000 for the $108,000 property, and hopes to raise another $15,000 by the end of February, 1998. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has agreed to kick in the rest of the money to by the pond.

The agency will operate the wetland as a wildlife area. "I think it's great that ODNR is buying it. It will keep a bit of wildlife habitat on the island," resident Jim Bretz told The Toledo Blade in a story Tuesday. His family settled at Middle Bass in the 1850's. Bretz has fond memories of ice skating with his brother, Richard, on the pond, about 40 miles east of Toledo.

He and others in the community were worried that the pond was going to be turned into a marina. "I'm glad we're able to keep it," Bretz said.

Wetlands help the environment because they support wildlife, protect rivers and streams from pollution and store water that otherwise could cause flooding.


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