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Ohio EPA Awards Grant for Geauga County Stream Restoration Project


Stream restoration efforts in the Chagrin River watershed will receive a boost thanks to a $163,450 grant awarded by Ohio EPA. The grant to Holden Arboretum is one of 12 Ohio EPA issued statewide totaling $2.7 million to help communities restore waterways impaired by nonpoint source pollution. Holden Arboretum will use the money – along with a local match of $88,878 – to restore a section of the East Branch of the Chagrin River flowing through Chardon Township in Geauga County.

Holden Arboretum plans to restore a natural flow to the stream by removing nearly 400 feet of levee, stabilizing the stream channel and banks, restoring adjacent floodplain and planting trees and shrubs throughout the riparian area.
The restoration effort is expected to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments discharging into the river and improve overall water quality in the watershed.

Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment in Ohio’s streams and lakes. 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. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.

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.

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