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Save Mosquito Creek wetlands, protect water

DEAR EDITOR:

The Mosquito Creek corridor, a tributary to the Mahoning River, is being threatened by the Enterprise Park development, one of the largest wetland “fills” in Ohio Environmental Protection Agency history, located in the Mahoning Valley in northeastern Ohio.

The Enterprise Park project is proposed on 106 acres of “greenfield.” The development would fill forested wetlands; create 38 acres of impervious surface, including over 2,000 parking spaces; disrupt maturing wetland forests; and adversely impact the water entering Mosquito Creek.

Ohio already has lost 90 percent of its wetlands — Ohio’s most diverse ecosystems. They are effective in water purification, water storage, biodiversity, flood control and other services. It’s imperative we save the remaining wetlands. The Mosquito Creek Watershed is part of the larger Mahoning River Watershed.

The Mahoning River and its watershed still are recovering from a legacy of unrestrained industrial impacts.

Friends of the Mahoning River urge you to support a petition that opposes further destruction and degradation of wetlands that:

• Protect from flooding: Wetlands help protect homes and lands downstream from flooding. Filling this wetland will increase flooding risks downstream.

• Safeguard water quality: Wetlands naturally improve water quality by filtering nutrients, pollutants and sediment, and they will decrease potential for harmful algal blooms downstream.

• Impact climate change: Forests are the only effective natural terrestrial means to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; removal of existing forests will exasperate climate warming.

• Preserve biodiversity: This urban wetland, one of the finest in Ohio, is an oasis for biodiversity. The Mosquito Creek Wetlands Corridor is well known as a corridor for bird migration and habitat for unique amphibians and plants. Fragmenting these wetlands will result in the loss of biodiversity in the larger complex.

Many alternative locations exist for this proposed development. Our Mahoning Valley would benefit from reinvestment in areas that have been otherwise abandoned.

Moreover, Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative includes this statement from his State of the State speech: “We have so much to appreciate. And we need to support and expand efforts that are working to preserve and protect our state’s natural wonders — from Lake Erie to all our lakes and rivers. But at the same time, we still face some significant challenges.”

The Friends of the Mahoning River advocate for protecting Mosquito Creek Wetlands consistent with the governor’s initiative, which proposes a statewide grant program for riparian wetland creation. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has publicly stated one of her goals is to restore wetlands in Ohio.

The “P” in EPA is protection!

DON REX

Girard

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