The Medina County Park District has acquired the 87-acre Medina Marsh.
The wetland in Medina Township was purchased for nearly $1.3 million with help from the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
The property sits on the city of Medina’s northeast side next to the West Branch of Rocky River.
The area hosts a variety of habitats including two of the highest-quality wetlands totaling 32 acres and a heron rookery with about a dozen nests.
The property includes lowland woods, marsh and scrub-shrub plant communities.
Park district Director Tom James said the district is pleased to preserve additional land in the Ricky River corridor.
The marsh, he said, has been considered important for some time.
The park district’s 1978 master plan said the Medina Marsh was an important wildlife and natural resource corridor, James said.
The acquisition of the marsh — south of Fenn Road and east of Pearl Road — is the latest link in a green corridor in the city of Medina and Medina Township that is 2 miles long and covers more than 600 acres.
The new parcel connects the county park district’s 41-acre Vansco Nature Preserve to the city of Medina’s 308-acre Reagan and Huffman parks that are, in turn, adjacent to Lake Medina, a former reservoir that is now a 190-acre county park.
The property also provides added protection for Rocky River and its tributaries.
“This is an extraordinary piece of property in terms of natural resources and will provide an important link in what will be a beautiful, protected green corridor along the banks of the West Branch of Ricky River,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the conservancy that is based in Moreland Hills.
Biologists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 2012 found a rare skullcap skeletonizer moth in the Medina Marsh.
Later that year, experts from the Ohio Lichen and Moss Association found the rare Leska moss on the property.
Medina Marsh is not yet open to the public.
When it is opened, the wetland will be a nature preserve open for passive recreational use, educational programs, nature study and scientific research, officials said.
The purchase was funded with a $963,702 Clean Ohio grant, $75,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and $257,100 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The park district has provided about $330,000 to expedite the purchase, but it will be reimbursed with the grant funds.
The purchase was also supported by the Medina Township trustees.
The park district owns more than 20 properties and manages more than 5,200 acres.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.