Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA, (614) 644-2160
Matt Eiselstein, ODNR, (614) 265-6860
Ohio Gives $1 Million to Sandusky for Nutrient Reduction in Sandusky Bay
The State of Ohio is giving $1 million grant from the Ohio Healthy Lake Initiative to the city of Sandusky for nutrient reduction pilot projects in the Sandusky Bay.
“The Sandusky Bay Enhancement Initiative will help us meet the State’s July 2020 ban on disposing of dredged material in the open waters of Lake Erie while reducing nutrients that can cause harmful algal blooms,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.
“Lake Erie is vital to sustaining Ohio’s coastal communities, including Sandusky. We are proud to be a part of this innovative project that will help improve water quality here in the Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie,” said ODNR Director Jim Zehringer.
“Cedar Point is committed to the health and quality of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie, our most important natural resources,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “Our visitors come to enjoy the breathtaking surroundings of the park, and we’re pleased to be a partner in the efforts to protect these waters for future visitors.”
The grant will allow Sandusky to engineer and develop four in-water habitat projects, recreating some of the natural wetlands and mud-flats that once surrounded Sandusky Bay. Clean dredged material from dredging of the federal navigation channel in Sandusky will be used to establish the new in-water habitats and water quality treatment to help reduce nutrients and sediments from entering Lake Erie.
The 64-square-mile Sandusky Bay is a microcosm of Lake Erie, providing significant environmental influence on the fisheries, wildlife habitat and water quality of our Great Lake. In 2016, the State of Ohio identified Sandusky Bay as a state priority area for water quality improvements and in-water habitat restoration initiatives that will benefit the Bay as well as Lake Erie. The lessons learned through the Sandusky Bay Enhancement Initiative may apply across the Lake Erie basin.
The State of Ohio has initiated, along with the City of Sandusky and various not-for-profit organizations, a series of strategic investments to systematically link restoration projects in Sandusky Bay and its watershed. This approach will address at least five core priorities of the Lake Erie Commission’s Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan: Nutrient Reduction, Dredge Material Beneficial Use, Habitat Restoration, Invasive Species Management and Funding Coordination.
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.