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Ohio EPA Awarded Federal Grants to Fund Projects Benefitting Lake Erie
Ohio EPA is receiving an additional $4.38 million in federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to implement sediment and nutrient reduction projects in two major Lake Erie watersheds.
The five-year Maumee River Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Initiative has been awarded $3.69 million and brings together a diverse coalition of 10 public and private organizations and targets the Maumee River watershed with projects in Auglaize, Defiance, Hardin, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding and Putnam counties.
The second grant is for $689,000 for Phase 2 of the Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project in Crawford County. This three-year project is focused on nutrient reduction in the Sandusky River watershed.
“These projects, in coordination with other projects being implemented through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Agriculture, continue the state’s objective of focusing dollars and conservation practices in targeted watersheds with known nutrient and sediment impairments,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.
U.S. EPA announced the latest grants today. Ohio previously received $7.4 million in GLRI funding since August 2014.
Maumee River watershed
The Maumee River watershed projects feature innovative agricultural sediment and nutrient reduction practices, aggressive implementation of multiple stream and wetland restoration projects, neighborhood-scale green storm water management, and retention and reuse of nutrient-rich runoff.
When completed in 2019, the combined local projects will retire approximately 270 acres of vulnerable cropland; install two tile cropland runoff retention and reuse systems; demonstrate multiple nutrient reduction management practices such as 60 blind inlets and a saturated buffer system; convert two miles of channelized ditches to two-stage channels; restore six miles of stream channels to natural habitat and flow conditions; stabilize 1,000 feet of eroding stream bank; and restore more than 70 acres of wetlands and wet prairies.
Successful implementation will result in substantial reductions of nonpoint source pollutants, estimated at 4,843 tons of sediment, 21,952 pounds of nitrogen and 5,268 pounds of phosphorus per year.
Ohio EPA’s project partners include Pheasants Forever, Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, Black Swamp Conservancy, Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Lucas County Land Bank, The Ohio State University and Antioch College.
Sandusky River watershed
The Crawford County project is being implemented in three phases through 2017 in the Brokensword Creek and Sycamore Creek subwatersheds.
Agricultural producers and landowners are implementing best management practices and systems that are proven to reduce sediment and nutrient loading from farmland. The grant also is encouraging and providing incentives for innovative practices such as saturated buffers and other nutrient reduction demonstration practices.
Ohio EPA is working with the Crawford Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Sandusky River Watershed Coalition. It is a continuation of a successful GLRI-funded project that targeted nearby Loss Creek and an NRCS project in Brandywine and Brokensword creeks.
Once implemented, the project will reduce sediment load in the watershed by 657 tons, nitrogen by 40,008 tons and phosphorus by 2,552 tons each year.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.