Recent Accomplishments Include:
- Purchased 40.57 acres of land to be sold to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when funding is available.
- Received Ohio EPA grant to fund restoration work on 40 acres of land.
- Funded Wildlife Drive improvements including 9 pull-offs and a restroom mid-way through the route.
- With funds from many partnering organizations, built the Visitor Center Fishing Access including one ADA-accessible fishing platform.
- Constructed West Harbor Landing observation deck, parking area, kayak launch, kiosk, and pollinator habitat.
- Built Turtle Creek Island Unit parking area and kayak launch.
- Built Middle Toussaint Unit parking area and kayak launch.
- Constructed Boss Unit Shorebird Deck.
- 850 Friends Members in 45 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
- Rookery Nature Store grossed $113,500 in 2019.
- Provided stipends for 27 13-week internships in the last 5 years.
- Created an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge license plate available at Ohio BMV's.
- Received Ohio Environmental Education Foundation grant to equip the Refuge Ranger Station with educational materials.
- Hosted annual events including the Biggest Week in American Birding, Cars for Critters, West Sister Island Sunset Cruise, Discover Ottawa Day, 5K, Chili Cook-off, Lorax Day, Holiday Open House, Howl-o-ween, etc.
- Purchasing and restoring additional relevant properties to native habitat. Our goal is to have a $500,000 revolving fund in place to allow us to purchase properties as they are available, then sell to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a later date once their paperwork is in order. Money entering the Joan and Richard Kimple Conservation Fund will help to support land purchases and leverage restoration work in perpetuity.
- Funding the restoration and enhancement of the Marinewood Unit. This unit is a retired golf course in central Ottawa County, Ohio that will be open for public use. Potential plans include an ADA hiking trail, kayak launch, playground, RV pads for volunteer site hosts, restroom and picnic facilities.
- Reaching 1,000 Friends Members in all 50 states. People from across the country support the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge complex as a hotspot for birding. Our goal is to raise our membership from 850 members in 45 states to 1,000 members spread across all 50 states.
- Fund additional refuge priority projects as they arise. Deferred maintenance has made the highest ever recorded lake levels a challenge for Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's aging infrastructure. We anticipate a need to assist in replacing the series of pumps, water control structures, culverts, electric pump stations, flap gates, and fish passage structures.