River commission seeks members | UToledo News

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River commission seeks members

The University of Toledo President’s Commission on the River strives to improve the habitat of the Ottawa River, an important part of UT’s Main Campus.

Volunteers associated with the President’s Commission on the River and Toledo Early College High School worked last fall to help put in native trees and plants as part of the restoration project under way on Main Campus.

Volunteers associated with the President’s Commission on the River and Toledo Early College High School worked last fall to help put in native trees and plants as part of the restoration project under way on Main Campus.

The commission is looking for new members from the UT community and invites faculty, staff, students and alumni to join. Commission members hope to gain additional interest in their current initiatives as well as ideas for new ones.

“We’re looking to have a more diverse representation from the various groups on campus,” said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Planning and chair of the President’s Commission on the River. “The idea is to have some more people involved, get some fresh ideas and new perspectives.”

Members meet once a month on campus for an hour and a half to discuss ongoing projects and decide what more needs to be done. The group is 12 members strong and is in the final stages of its largest project, which began in 2009.

This restoration project uses natural materials to change river flow and enhance the habitat, already resulting in more species of fish and animals in the area, according to Lawrence. The project, funded by grants from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is expected to be completed this year.

Additional commission projects and activities are under way; these include beautification, education, storm water mitigation and stream bank cleanup.

“The river is a key part of our campus, and we’re always looking for new ideas and new initiatives,” Lawrence said.

Those interested in joining can contact Lawrence at patrick.lawrence@utoledo.edu.

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