HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — A flood-prone area near the Blanchard River will soon be transformed into a permanent wetland.

A 190-acre farm field along County Road 89, owned by Hancock County and leased out to a local farmer, sits less than 100 yards from the Blanchard River. But, about 15 acres of the field that is closest to the nearby Blanchard River is almost always too flooded or wet to consistently plant crops.

The county has now decided to partner with the Nature's Conservancy to officially transform those 15 acres into permanent wetlands.

By next spring, native plants will be growing in a significantly lower ground level to retain more overflow water from the river.

As an additional bonus, the wetlands will help act as a natural filter for excess nutrient runoff.

"It's a double whammy for us. We're really making great strides here in Hancock County to improve water quality as well as the flooding conditions," Hancock County Commissioner Timothy Bechtol said. "This isn't going to solve all of our problems, but it's one component to a bigger picture that we're working on to make everything better." 

Excavation for the wetlands project will begin once the current corn crop is fully harvested later this fall.

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