Monday, June 28, 2010

Maumee Bay State Park

The Black Swamp used to extend along most of this southwestern shoreline of Lake Erie, but much of it has been drained or otherwise converted. A number of canals have been dredged into the landscape, connecting marinas and nuclear power plants to the lake. Where the wetlands still remain along the lake, the shoreline has been riprapped to prevent erosion. From what I can tell, the beaches along this shoreline must have been narrow, sandy, and eroding landward rapidly, probably with some variability around points of land or river mouths.

Maumee Bay State Park abuts the marsh and has a system of trails, but the developed portion is an artificial landscape, with an artificial beach on the lake, an artificial lagoon (with its own created beach), and a large resort, complete with a golf course.
It looks like a recreational magnet, even if it bears little resemblance to the original shoreline (aerial view).

The beach was built about 20 years ago with fine gravel made from crushed limestone. The shoreline is configured using a series of segmented breakwaters, which form artificial headlands separating a series of small pocket beaches. The beach berm was piled high with mussel shells - zebra mussels, I think, although they could also be quagga mussels (also invasive). The lake was incredibly turbid - I don't know if this reflects recent runoff from the Maumee River or whether this is typical of this end of the lake or this time of year.

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