Close search

BW alumnus discovers two 'lost' Ohio plant species

Photo of Mark Warman Mark Warman, a 2013 Baldwin Wallace sustainability and biology graduate, surprised local botanists with some major discoveries in Northeast Ohio.

Invasive Species Specialist

Warman serves as the aquatic invasive species project coordinator for the Cleveland Metroparks. He oversees efforts to identify and manage invasive plant species before they disrupt the local ecosystem. These initiatives save the city major maintenance costs down the line.

"Who wants to kayak through a mat of water weeds?" Warman explains.

An Accidental Discovery

Warman is regularly dispatched with local botanists to various sites in Northeast Ohio in search of invasive plant species. It was during a routine expedition that they happened upon two 'lost' plants whose natural population had not been observed in over 50 years in the state of Ohio.

Mark Warman (center) searching for invasive plant species on Lake Erie, near Burke Lakefront Airport. "We tossed garden rake heads on ropes into the water and retrieved [the] plants," Warman said.

The first plant, Vasey's Pondweed, was found on an assignment in the Lorain County Metro Parks, and the second, Fineleaf Pondweed, was discovered right here in Lake Erie, north of Burke Lakefront Airport. Both plants were verified by the state botanist, confirming their exciting reappearance in Ohio.

"It's a plant that you don't see very often … So to come to Lorain County Metroparks and just see it really thriving and just a ton of it everywhere, it's a pretty neat thing," Warman said in a News Channel 5 story.

Double Major Pays Off

Warman's commitment to the study of both biology and sustainability during his tenure at BW has informed his career in robust ways. Warman is not only able to identify rare aquatic plant species but can also communicate the value of these finds in a way that shapes the conversation around preserving our local aquatic ecosystem.

Due to Ohio's tremendous water resources, we are witnessing the resurgence of these 'lost' plants.

Learning about the health of local rivers, lakes and other bodies of water is key; these resources "should be protected and kept free of invasive species so we can continue to support a wide variety of wildlife," Warman says.

The Cleveland Metroparks Aquatic Invasive Plant Project is jointly administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program.

Media Contact

More News

Sherwin-Williams launches BW career accelerator and learning community

BW students work Super Bowl LVIII for hands-on sport management experience

State approves new BW graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling