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Ultium Cells Partners with the ODNR and the Stream + Wetlands Foundation to Establish Large Wetland Mitigation Project at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge

Ultium Cells Partners with the ODNR and the Stream + Wetlands Foundation to Establish Large Wetland Mitigation Project at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is pleased to announce a partnership that has resulted in the construction of a 172-acre habitat restoration project at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge in Trumbull County. The project includes more than 130-acres of restored wetlands on a site that was previously farmed to control woody invasive plants before the project was initiated.

The Stream + Wetlands Foundation and Ultium Cells LLC worked with the Division of Wildlife to establish the wetland. It is located north of Mahan Denman Road in Trumbull County’s Mecca Township, within the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge. The site will ultimately be managed by the Division of Wildlife.

“Creating this expansive wetland will improve and conserve water quality at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Wetland habitat is vital for many Ohio wildlife species, including some that are threatened or endangered. Thanks to our partners at Ultium Cells and the Stream + Wetlands Foundation, we will preserve this beneficial habitat in perpetuity.”

The wetland mitigation project will restore habitats such as wet meadow, forest, scrub shrub, shallow emergent marsh, and deep emergent marsh. The established wetlands and uplands on the site will help to improve water quality, habitat diversity, and ecological connectivity for imperiled birds, amphibians, and other wildlife species in and near the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area.

“The Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge is an important part of our Northeast Ohio communities,” said Tom Gallagher, chief operating office of Ultium Cells. “At Ultium Cells we’re focused on helping the transportation industry move closer to a world with zero emissions propulsion. Battery cells that enable electrification are an important step in this direction and away from fossil fuels but our commitment to sustainability doesn’t end there. We’re grateful for our partnerships with the ODNR, Stream + Wetlands and the state and federal agencies that helped to develop a project that will enhance and protect the environment and biodiversity of the Mosquito Creek watershed for generations to come.”

State-listed threatened and endangered species such as the trumpeter swan and sandhill crane will benefit from this project. Bald eagles, with a penchant for hunting and establishing nests in forested wetlands, will thrive in this habitat. Popular waterfowl including mallards, wood ducks and blue-winged teal are also attracted to the food and cover provided in this extensive wetland.

Oak trees currently dominate the forest structure at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area and Refuge. The Division of Wildlife’s detailed forest management plan dovetails well into this mitigation project. As part of the project goals, more than 72,000 trees were planted, including 60% oak species to offer high value to wildlife. Additionally, plants and shrubs were introduced to build edge habitat. This habitat management technique allows for smooth transitions between habitat types, offering additional value to wildlife.

Because many wildlife species are dependent on high-quality wetland habitats throughout the year, conserving these spaces in perpetuity, like the Mosquito Creek project, is key to ensuring their continued success. Although the newly established wetland falls within the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge, hunters will be granted controlled access with a permit to pursue waterfowl and white-tailed deer.

The Stream & Wetlands Foundation was retained by Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solution (LGES), to provide more than 130-acres of wetland mitigation for the new battery cell manufacturing plant under construction in Lordstown, Ohio. Construction activities for the wetland mitigation project began in early May 2020 and planting of the project was completed in April 2021.

The work being done at the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge compliments that of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative. Wetlands are a natural landscape feature that can help capture excess sediments and nutrients to reduce algal blooms, thus improving water quality. They also have an array of ecological benefits which include preserving habitats for wildlife. You can read more about this initiative at h2.ohio.gov.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more. ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, will mass-produce Ultium battery cells to advance the push for a zero-emissions, all-electric future. GM and LG Energy Solution are investing $2.3 billion in the joint venture to support EV manufacturing in the U.S., and in turn, local jobs, education, career training and infrastructure. Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, will equal the size of 30 football fields and will have annual capacity of over 30 gigawatt hours with room to expand. Job seekers interested in challenging and rewarding careers in battery cell manufacturing can apply for open positions on the Ultium Cells website.

The Stream + Wetlands Foundation is an Ohio-based non-profit that specializes in restoring, rehabilitating and protecting wetland and stream habitat. Their projects are utilized by permit applicants to offset impacts to the environment through various state and federal regulatory programs. Since its inception in 1992, they have restored, rehabilitated, and protected more than 4,000 acres of habitat.

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Editor’s note: Photos from the wetland mitigation site at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge are attached. Please credit Aaron Van Ostran of the Stream + Wetlands Foundation.