Important Bird Areas

Conneaut Harbor

Ohio

Conneaut is the only bit of increasing mudflat habitat between Huron and Presque Isle in Pennsylvania. Conneaut IBA is located on the southern shore
of Lake Erie at the mouth of the Conneaut River. Conneaut harbor is a deep?draft commercial harbor with the outer harbor, including associated mudflats, approximately 142 acres in area and formed by a system of breakwaters. Sand and silt deposition have increased the mudflats in this IBA. The harbor is changing over the years, and marsh species are increasing. There is an ODNR-designated nature sanctuary, involving some of the mudflat but mostly the riparian corridor.

Ornithological Summary

This is the principal shoreline staging area for birds in Northeast Ohio along Lake Erie.
It is both a spring and fall site for shorebirds, as estuaries such as this are relied upon in the deeper central basin of Lake Erie. It is a raptor and vulture migratory corridor. Gulls concentrate at Conneaut in both spring migration and during winter.
This spot is characteristically very transient in nature for birdlife. R. Royse reports three-day totals with large differences in diversity and numbers hour to hour.
Records of nesting Least Bittern and Marsh Wren (The Ohio Cardinal) in the associated wetland exist. Merlins have summered along the gorge upstream and recorded hunting 31 May-lO June 1999.

Conservation Issues

The mudflats are easily accessible to the public and unregulated recreation in the form of ATVs along with the recreational activities of windsurfing, fishing, etc. is overwhelming the area. Dumping has been a problem.
Successional habitat is changing the mudflats. Port authority has proposed dredging entire area, with the expense of the project apparently being the only obstacle.