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  • Writer's pictureTedd Long

Maumee River Alvar

Maumee River at River Road and Jerome Road

This unique area of the Maumee is actually a very rare biological environment called an alvar - a limestone plain with thin or no soil that results in sparse grassland vegetation.  Often flooded in the spring, and affected by drought in midsummer, our Maumee River alvar supports a distinctive group of prairie-like plants, lichen, and mosses. Most alvars occur either in northern Europe or around the Great Lakes in North America. 

I captured this scene on an early August morning on my way to a client meeting. I left my house at about 6:30 AM and I couldn't help but notice how the fog was giving the sunrise a very unusual hue. As I rolled down the highway, intuition told me to pull off and stop where Jerome Road meets the Maumee River between Maumee and Waterville, Ohio. I stepped outside my car and pulled on my wader boots to walk out onto this alvar to photograph the sunrise. After I finished, I was climbing up the riverbank to get back in my car when I noticed several cars slowing down to look at me. I'm sure I looked like a complete geek: suit-and-tie, wader boots, and a tripod slung over my shoulder. What a great way to start the morning! We are very fortunate to have this distinctive environment in our back yard.


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