On July 27, 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that $5 million in grants is now available for local wetland restoration projects aimed at improving water quality and wildlife habitat in the Ohio River Basin.
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 restoring and enhancing wetlands, encouraging agricultural best management practices and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms.
“Many new and restored H2Ohio wetlands are already working to reduce algal blooms on Lake Erie, and we’re excited to continue expanding wetlands projects into other parts of the state,” said Governor DeWine. “Everyone deserves clean water, and by targeting this grant funding to the Ohio River Basin, it will help ensure that communities here have the opportunity to invest in wetland projects to naturally improve water quality for future generations.”
Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, such as phosphorus, from the water before they flow into waterways and contribute to harmful algal blooms. Right now, there are nearly 60 H2Ohio wetland projects underway or complete.
“We’ve seen such success in such a short time with our wetland projects, especially in northwest Ohio,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz.
“Opportunities to address nutrient pollution and related water quality problems in Ohio are not limited to one part of the state. We know that the wetland work we are doing can help us address these challenges. We are really excited to add to the growing list of H2Ohio wetlands and share the benefits of these projects with everyone in Ohio,” she added.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is administering the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program as part of Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative. The program is funded as part of Ohio’s 2022-2023 budget which the Ohio General Assembly passed and Governor DeWine signed earlier this summer.
The Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that provides up to $500,000 per project for wetland projects that address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement. Eligible projects include wetland creation, wetland restoration on hydric soils, and existing wetland and floodplain water quality enhancements.
The deadline to apply is September 30, 2021.