Pearl’s Fen Acquisition and Wetland Restoration

Cardno has assisted in the acquisition and restoration of an abandoned property in Ohio containing one of the only known ‘mound fen’ in the region.

Cardno assisted in the preparation of an Ohio Public Works Commission – Greenspace Conservation Program (“Clean Ohio”) Grant Application for the acquisition and restoration of the Pearl’s Fen property near Fairborn, OH. This previously neglected property was used as a livestock pasture and had in recent years become dominated by exotic and invasive species of vegetation.

Known historically to local botanists to contain rare wetland plant species, the property is also the home of the headwaters of Beaver Creek, which emanates from groundwater seeps between two alkaline “mound fens”.

Cardno assisted in obtaining the Clean Ohio Grant to acquire the 15-acre property and transfer it to Greene County Parks and Trails. Cardno was contracted to perform woody invasive species control and eradication of undesirable species.

Following invasive species removal, Cardno worked with project stakeholders to collect and amplify locally indigenous seed from other high quality wetland sites in the region. These local species helped return the site to its aquatic functions and provide uplift to its ecological services.

As part of the multi-year restoration effort, the Cardno Native Plant Nursery grew approximately 10,000 native plant plugs from locally collected seed, and amplified the seed into plant stock installed by Cardno restoration crews in spring 2020.

Additional restoration activities completed by Cardno included wet meadow and pollinator habitat establishment zones as well as upland invasive species control, tree planting, and assistance with public access and hiking trail improvements.

Cardno continues to provide ongoing adaptive management services and ecological monitoring of this unique site. The restored site has been restored to “Category 3” wetland status, using Ohio EPA’s vegetation index of biotic integrity (VIBI) survey protocol. Category 3 designation is reserved for Ohio’s highest quality wetlands.

Opened to the public in the summer of 2020 during the COVID19 pandemic, the site received regular visitors seeking to walk through local parks.

In August 2020, the project was profiled in the Dayton Daily News, and in November 2020, the project was awarded First Place by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (ORPA) at their 2020 Awards of Excellence.