Ohio EPA is requesting proposals for implementation projects to reduce nonpoint source pollutants, such as nutrients, sediment and bacteria; improve stream and riparian habitat; or reverse the impacts of stream hydromodification. Nearly $3 million in grants is expected to be available.
“Ohio EPA is continuing its comprehensive science based and data driven strategy to reduce the total amount of nutrients entering Lake Erie,” said Craig W. Butler, Ohio EPA Director. “Through this funding we are prioritizing innovative projects in high priority areas within the Western Lake Erie Basin that will measurably reduce nutrient and sediment losses, or restore coastal wetlands.”
This an opportunity to fund effective action on important priorities such as nutrient reduction within the Western Lake Erie Basin. Proposals should be linked to critical areas identified in Ohio’s watersheds such as projects that improve water quality in Ohio streams from nonpoint sources of pollution. Projects that measurably reduce nutrients, eliminate impairments, or restore impaired stream segments are more of a priority than general nonpoint source pollution prevention projects.
“One of the more difficult challenges of cleaning up Lake Erie is finding the necessary financial resources,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “Clean Water Act funding to address nonpoint sources in the Western Lake Erie Basin will help farmers help the lake. Ohio EPA’s decision to target this challenge is a wise decision.”
Eligible applicants include Soil and Water Conservation Districts; local municipalities, counties and townships; county and municipal park districts; nonprofit conservation and watershed organizations; and land-managing state agencies. Project proposals are due to Ohio EPA by Feb. 15, 2019. The application form for these water quality grants, as well as directions for applying, is available online at www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/nps/index/aspx.
“Ohio’s corn and wheat farmers are appreciative that dollars are being made available to help us implement science-based practices that build upon the tremendous body of work the farming community has already accomplished to improve water quality in Ohio,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.
Applicants proposing projects consistent with recent nutrient initiatives such as the Western Lake Erie Collaborative, Ohio Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Ohio Domestic Action Plan and/or the state’s approved Nonpoint Source Management Plan are particularly encouraged. Proposed projects must be identified within a U.S. EPA approved 9-element nonpoint source implementation strategy.
“We’re committed to supporting the great work of our local partners to improve water quality across Ohio,” said Kirk Hines, Chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Soil and Water Conservation. “We hope groups and organizations take advantage of these resources which can really make a difference.”
These grants provide up to 60% of total project cost and have a maximum three-year term. Local participants must provide 40% of total project cost either through in-kind services and/or cash. Grants are expected to be awarded to applicants in late spring 2019 and will be in effect for three years.