CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein

Ohio EPA Awards More Than $214,000 for Union County Restoration Project

Ohio EPA has awarded a $214,306 grant to The River Institute for a project to restore Powderlick Run in Union County. The Institute is matching the grant with $58,400. This grant is one of 12 totaling more than $2.7 million awarded by Ohio EPA to help communities restore waterways impaired by nonpoint source pollution.

The project will restore approximately 2,350 feet of Powderlick Run, a tributary to Bokes Creek. The project also will re-establish 1,550 feet of vegetated, active floodplain and improve nearly 400 feet of streamside areas. A new channel and floodplain will be excavated and approximately 4.5 acres will be planted with native grasses, trees, shrubs and/or live stakes.

This project was recommended in the Bokes Creek Watershed Action Plan and study completed by Ohio EPA and approved by U.S. EPA in 2002. The project includes conducting public education and outreach. Successful completion of this project will result in an overall better ecosystem through reduced nonpoint source pollutant loadings to Powderlick Run. The estimated load reductions include 320 pounds per year of nitrogen, 160 pounds per year of phosphorus and 160 tons per year of sediment.

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. 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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