COLUMBUS — A number of regional entities will receive significant grant monies as part of the $5 million H2Ohio grant program announced Wednesday morning by Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz.
In all, funding will be directed to 13 wetland projects in 11 counties to help improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin.
"We are excited to continue the expansion of H2Ohio's work into the Ohio River Basin and to take the next big step toward naturally improving water quality across Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “Water issues expand beyond Lake Erie, so by focusing this funding farther south, we can address water challenges on a bigger scale and help ensure that people throughout the state can experience the benefits of these wetlands.”
In this region, $500,000 is headed to the Holmes County Park District in Holmes County. The funding will be used for wetland restoration and floodplain expansion in reconnecting to Killbuck Creek.
Another $322,534 is bound for the East Funk Bottoms in Wayne County. Funding will go toward wetland restoration and floodplain restoration at The Wilderness Center.
In Medina County, $500,000 is going to the West Creek Conservancy as part of a wetland restoration program by a private landowner in the Chippewa Creek floodplain.
DeWine announced the launch of the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program in July. The program provides up to $500,000 for wetland projects that address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement in the Ohio River and its tributaries.
Awards will go to projects in Butler (2), Greene, Franklin (2), Hamilton, Holmes, Mahoning, Medina, Miami, Montgomery, Wayne, and Warren counties. Each project will create wetlands, restore wetlands on hydric soils, and/or enhance water quality at existing wetlands and floodplains.
“We’ve seen a ton of success in northwest Ohio, and I am thrilled to see the H2Ohio initiative expand into the Ohio River Basin,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “We are really excited to add to the growing list of H2Ohio wetlands and share the benefits of these projects with everyone across the state.”
Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, like phosphorus, from the water before they flow into waterways and contribute to harmful algal blooms. Right now, there are more than 70 H2Ohio wetland projects underway.
The Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program is funded as part of Ohio's 2022-2023 operating budget which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor DeWine earlier this year.
H2Ohio is Governor DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, visit h2.ohio.gov.