Sandusky Delta Restoration Project – Muddy Creek Bay

Restoring the Ecosystem


    The Nature Conservancy


    Sandusky County, OH

Key Elements

    Site Investigation and Analysis
  • Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling
  • Conceptual Design
  • Stakeholder Coordination

Muddy Creek Bay is a smaller estuary within Sandusky Bay, connecting the Sandusky River to Lake Erie. The bay has experienced extensive loss of wetlands and resulting impairment to ecological functions. GEI led a team to collect bathymetry, sediment and vegetative cover data in Muddy Creek Bay, and to develop preliminary designs for bay restoration.

The normal hydrodynamic and sediment transport regimes in Sandusky Bay from outer Sandusky Bay to inner Muddy Creek Bay, have been significantly altered by human activities. These alterations have impaired the ecological functions and structure that depend on these natural physical processes, causing significant harm to the overall bay ecosystem. The intent of this project is to begin to repair and/or restore historic processes to help re-establish the natural hydrologic and sediment transport processes and begin restoring the bay ecosystem.

GEI led a team in collecting bathymetric survey data, sub-bottom profiling, acoustic Doppler current profiling, vibracore sediment sampling, and ecological assessments in Muddy Creek Bay.

GEI then developed a 2-dimensional hydrodynamic model of existing conditions in Muddy Creek Bay based on the bathymetry survey data, USGS gage data for Sandusky River, and current and historic water level, wind and wave data for Lake Erie. The model simulates water depths and velocities throughout the bay based on flow in the Sandusky River and water level in Lake Erie. GEI used the model to test design scenarios for wetland protection structures.

Design concepts for Muddy Creek Bay include building wetlands in protected (diked) areas, and/or using submerged detached breakwaters to reduce wave action near restoration sites. GEI is using the results of data collection and modeling to design systems to act as buffers, redirect flows, or provide wave protection as temporary or permanent solutions to re-establish wetlands in the bay. This work is now being used to attract funding to implement the designs.

Have a project in mind?

Learn more about how we can help you.