The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $4,556,900 to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to improve the water quality of the state’s rivers and streams.

       The funding is awarded under the Clean Water Act, which authorizes the EPA to provide grant money to states to implement nonpoint pollution control programs. Nonpoint source pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from land runoff, precipitation, drainage and other diffuse sources. Nonpoint pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants before being deposited into lakes, rivers, wetlands, and ground waters.

        Nonpoint source pollution can include:

        •Excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural lands;

        •Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production;

        •Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding stream banks;

        • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty septic systems             

        Nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems, according to the EPA. It has been shown that these pollutants have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.

Partnerships

        The grant demonstrates the value of state and federal partnerships, said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

        “Providing funds directly to Ohio is an excellent example of EPA empowering a state to address its unique and critical environmental challenges,” said Pruitt.

        Federal dollars continue to be a vital part of Ohio’s comprehensive strategy to improve water quality in Ohio, according to Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.

        “These partnerships at the federal level, along with our collaborations with other states and local communities, help to increase the number of Ohio’s water bodies safe for swimming and fishing and that often serve as sources for public drinking water systems,” said Butler.

        The funding was authorized through the U.S. EPA’s Nonpoint Source Program, which has restored over 6,000 miles of streams and over 164,000 acres of lakes since 2006.

        Senator Sherrod Brown released a statement praising the Program, citing the Toledo water crisis in 2014 caused by harmful algal blooms as an example of why the program is critical to Ohio communities.

        “Protecting Ohio waterways is important for safe drinking water and local jobs,” said Brown. “By reducing runoff and working to prevent pollution, we can eliminate harmful algal blooms and ensure that our lakes, rivers, and streams remain viable resources for Ohio businesses and residents in the future.”

        The EPA funding will support Ohio’s active reporting on water quality standards and watershed planning for impaired rivers and streams. Funding will also support outreach activities to educate the general public and landowners about nonpoint source pollution, according to the EPA.

       

Past projects

        Projects that have received funding from the program in The Press circulation area, according to  James Lee, Ohio EPA’s media relations manager, include:

        •A bio-retention facility community demonstration project in Oregon. The city received a $103,228.70 grant to install 4,950 square feet of bio-retention cell demonstrations at the Oregon Recreation Complex;

        •A $6,987.49 grant for a wetland rain garden at the Maumee Bay Nature Center that included the installation of a multiple barrel rainwater storage system, reconstruction and restoration of two acres of wetlands as a rain garden, planting of two acres of wetland species, and treatment/removal of two acres of invasive species;

        •A $19,870 grant for the Wolf Creek Floodplain Enhancement Project in Oregon, which included the planting of 4,800 native Ohio wetland plugs and 30 native shrubs along floodplains adjacent to Wolf Creek.

        •A $5,675 grant for nutrient reduction for Lake Erie Maumee Bay State Park, which provided 117 days of Canada goose/gull control with specifically trained dogs, and installed four project specific signs for public education and outreach.

       

                       

 

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