Ohio EPA Grant to Help Stabilize, Restore Upper Swan Creek

Ohio EPA has awarded an $80,741 grant to Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments to restore eight acres of floodplain along Upper Swan Creek. This is one of 12 grants issued statewide totaling $2.7 million to help communities restore waterways impaired by non-point source pollution.

Restoration activities will include installing riparian buffer and vegetation strips and location-specific conservation buffers; acquiring conservation easements; stabilizing 2,400 linear feet of streambank; and restoring 8.8 acres of wetlands.

The project was recommended in the Swan Creek Total Maximum Daily Load water quality study approved by U.S. EPA in 2009. The project includes $57,633 in local matching funds.

Establishing riparian buffers along the stream channel will reduce runoff of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) by a combined estimate of 765 pounds a year and sediments by about 300 tons per year.

Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment in Ohio. It is caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants and depositing them in lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waterways. Other forms of nonpoint source pollution include modifications to natural stream flow, habitat alteration and nutrients.

In 1987, Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act created a national program to control nonpoint source pollution. Ohio EPA administers the program for U.S. EPA and distributes millions of federal dollars to projects proposed by local governments and community organizations such as watershed groups. To be eligible, grant recipients must contribute at least a 20 percent match consisting of cash or in-kind contributions or services. Grants of up to $350,000 are awarded for three-year periods.

Applications for the next round of grants, which are due on June 1, 2012, are available through Ohio EPA’s district offices or by contacting Russ Gibson at (614) 644-2020 or Martha Spurbeck at (614) 644-2869. More information on the grants, an electronic application and examples of previously successful projects are available online.