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Ohio EPA Conducting Water Quality Study in Black River Watershed

Ohio EPA is beginning an extensive study of the Black River watershed located in north-central Ohio. The study area includes the entire 470-square-mile watershed draining portions of Lorain, Medina, Cuyahoga, Ashland and Huron counties. The accumulated data will show where the water quality is healthy and where improvements need to be made.

Ohio EPA scientists will measure streams and evaluate habitats, examine and count fish and aquatic insects, and collect chemical samples. Repeated sampling will take place through October at locations upstream and downstream from sewage treatment plants, industrial discharges, tributaries, streams, dams and where there have been significant changes in land use practices.

Ohio EPA employees involved with the study carry photo identification and will request permission from private landowners if access to their property is needed.

The last comprehensive Black River watershed studies were completed in the 1990s. Ohio EPA later developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report which was approved by U.S. EPA in 2008. This year’s study will reveal whether the water quality problems identified in the TMDL report continue to exist and if there are new concerns to address.

The Black River is the only river system in Ohio where the entire watershed is designated an Area of Concern (AOC) by the International Joint Commission. The Black River Remedial Action Plan program – a community-based public and private initiative addressing beneficial use impairments identified in the AOC – will use results from the study to determine the status of impairments. The long-term goal is full restoration and protection of water quality throughout the Black River watershed.

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