Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz announced today that $3 million in H2Ohio grant funding will be directed to nine wetland projects to help improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin.
Awards will go to projects in Athens, Butler, Clark, Delaware, Franklin, Mahoning, Montgomery, Pickaway, and Wayne counties to create wetlands, restore wetlands on hydric soils, and/or enhance water quality at existing wetlands and floodplains.
“By expanding the reach of H2Ohio, we are working not only toward water quality, but also to a better quality of life for all Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine. “Water issues exist everywhere, and these new projects will ensure more communities get the opportunity to experience the benefits these wetlands provide for water quality, wildlife, and recreational purposes.”
This is the second round of H2Ohio grants focused exclusively on the Ohio River Basin. In round one, ten wetland projects were awarded a total of $4.3 million to address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement in the Ohio River and its tributaries.
“It’s exciting to share the nature-based approach to water quality we have been implementing in the northern part of the state with even more communities,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “It has always been our goal to extend the H2Ohio initiative across the entire state, and we are glad to be able to support these new projects in the Ohio River Basin.”
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 80 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.
Pickaway County will receive 490,000 dollars to aim towards the Wetland Restoration and floodplain of Cooks Creek on US-23 in Pickaway County. The location in the future may have kayak access and other amenities.
The District is working with Appalachia Ohio Alliance, AOA, to purchase Cooks Creek. AOA will be purchaseing the 300 acre preoperty form the Cook family and the District will be purchasing 25 acres from AOA. The District’s 25 acres will include the club house. AOA has not yet finalized the purchase of the property. They are using a grant from the EPA to make this purchase and this grant requires project sponsors which AOA is work to secure. They are expected to have their project sponsors and the funding from the EPA Grant in the coming months and the purchase with the Cooks is expected to occur in the early part of 2022. Following the closing of AOA and the Cooks the District will make our purchase of the 25 acres, which is expected to occur late winter early/spring of 2022. The District does not expect the property to be open to the public until the Fall of 2022 or beginning of 2023. The opening of the property to the public is contingent on closing dates and how long it will takes to get the property ready for park visitors.