Location & Description
This 1,536-acre wildlife area in northeastern Ohio is in portions of Wayne and Ashland counties. State Route 95, running east-west, goes through the middle of the area, from Blachleyville (east), through Funk and Lake Fork (west). The area lies in the glaciated central hills region of Ohio, with flat to moderately rolling topography. The vast majority of the wildlife area consists of seasonally flooded moist soil meadows and bottomland hardwoods.
History & Purpose
Purchase of land for Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area began in 1991. Additional land is being acquired as funds become available, and as landowners are willing to sell. The present acquisition plan is limited to property within the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) flood easement. The Mohicanville “Dry” Dam was built in 1936, primarily for flood control. All land behind the dam, below an elevation of 963 feet, is under flood easement to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This totals over 8,800 acres. The Division of Wildlife is acquiring land in this area because of the quality wetland habitat and associated wildlife species that are found here. This wildlife area is managed as a public use facility and features moist soil and shallow water habitat. The land is allowed to return to its natural wetland condition, with the approval of the appropriate agencies.
The creeks and permanent marshes on the area support mainly roughfish with small numbers of panfish. Mallard, wood duck, muskrat, raccoon, and cottontail rabbit are the principal game and furbearer species. Deer, pheasant, woodchuck, fox squirrel, Canada goose, and other furbearers are common. A great variety of nesting and migrant birds occur on the area. Of particular interest is the spring migration of waterfowl (23 species, including Tundra swans) and shorebirds (28 species). Several species of raptors can be found during migrations and overwintering. Bald eagles have been observed on the wildlife area. Nesting of the state endangered sandhill crane on the purchase unit was confirmed in 1988; this was the first recorded Ohio nesting of this species in more than 60 years. Sandhill nests have been confirmed here several times since. Sandhill cranes are a wetland dependent species.
Waterfowl hunting is popular on the wildlife area, especially when flooding occurs from the Mohicanville Dam. The Canada goose, mallard, wood duck, and blue-winged teal are most commonly taken. Small game species are pursued in the uplands and in the bottomland during dry seasons. Furbearer hunting and trapping provide many hours of recreational opportunity. Fishing, frog hunting, and turtle hunting occur primarily in the deeper creeks and ditches. State, county, and township roads provide access to much of the area. Funds from the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Income Tax Checkoff are used extensively at Funk Bottoms for acquisition and management. Ohioans can designate some or all of their state income tax return to this fund or you can make a donation directly to the Division of Wildlife. The observation deck provides good opportunities to view wildlife, especially during flood events and bird migrations.