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Ohio EPA Awards Environmental Education Grant to Help Ohioans Identify and Sample Harmful Algal Blooms

A Kent-based lakes organization will spend much of 2013 educating citizens about harmful algal blooms, thanks to a $48,440 grant from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund. The grant was awarded to the Ohio Lake Management Society (OLMS) – one of nine Ohio communities and organizations to receive a total of $350,000 to support environmental education programs.

OLMS will use the money to educate Ohioans living on or near lakes about harmful algal blooms and how to properly identify and report blooms to Ohio EPA. In addition, volunteers will learn to collect, package and ship water samples from 10 lakes with a history of algal blooms. Samples will be analyzed by a professional lab and results published in newsletters, presented at conferences and posted on OLMS’ website. Staff from Ohio EPA’s Inland Lakes Program will collaborate on the project and assist with guidance and training curricula.

OLMS has trained and supported “citizen scientists” for 26 years. An OLMS pilot study determined that volunteers can perform high quality sampling when supplied with the proper sampling kits and training.

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund is administered by Ohio EPA. Grants up to $50,000 are funded from one-half of the civil penalties collected by the Agency for air and water pollution control violations. For additional information, contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund on the web or at (614) 644-2873.

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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. In the past 40 years, 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. Ohio EPA….40 years and moving forward.


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