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Ohio EPA Secures $425,000 U.S. EPA Grant to Study, Protect Buckeye Lake

Details to be Shared at Public Meeting Tonight


In further support of local efforts to assess, protect and improve water quality at Buckeye Lake, Ohio EPA sought and received a $425,000 grant from U.S. EPA to conduct two years of comprehensive monitoring in the 3,200-acre lake and its tributaries. Ohio EPA, in turn, will award sub-grants as part of a newly launched, four-pronged Buckeye Lake Nutrient Reduction Project. Partners include Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow (BLT), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Recreation, and Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The cooperation of residents, businesses, farmers, organizations, visitors and government agencies is essential to preserve this recreational resource.

Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow (BLT)


At tonight’s BLT community meeting (7 p.m., Fraternal Order of Eagles, 3240 Walnut Rd. SE), the group will explain how it is utilizing a sub-grant to develop a Buckeye Lake management and nutrient reduction plan in the next year. BLT will conduct public outreach and educational workshops with lakefront homeowners to raise awareness about nutrient loading to the lake and encourage individual responsibility such as phosphorus-free fertilizing; picking up after a pet; managing storm water; and keeping the lake clear of carp, unwanted discharges and dumped materials (even grass clippings and other organic matter).

Buckeye Lake State Park, ODNR


ODNR is using grant money to retrofit a boat launch with permeable pavement at Buckeye Lake State Park’s Fairfield Beach. A gravel base allows storm water to infiltrate the ground, and run-off will be redirected from the parking lot through a constructed wetland to filter pollutants. Rain gardens, informational signs and a workshop for marina operators will demonstrate the effective, passive control of run-off to keep nutrients from entering the lake.

Fairfield SWCD


The Fairfield SWCD received a sub-grant to document existing land uses and surface cover along more than 70 stream miles in the watershed; educate lakeside homeowners about rain barrels and make barrels available at deep discount; place educational signs about rain barrels; and install 200 rain barrel systems in Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties. The SWCD will also plant cover crops on 200 acres in the watershed to reduce 800 pounds of phosphorus and 400 tons of sediment from flowing into Buckeye Lake and its tributaries.

Ohio EPA Studies Buckeye Lake and its Tributaries


The remainder of the U.S. EPA grant for the Buckeye Lake Nutrient Reduction Project will pay for Ohio EPA to conduct another year of in-lake and tributary monitoring. Ohio EPA began collecting data last year and previously studied the lake as part of the state’s routine inland lakes monitoring program. A complete dataset and evaluation of all nutrient sources in the watershed will help identify specific actions that can be implemented to protect and improve water quality.

Ohio EPA and ODNR also partnered with YSI Inc., an Ohio-based manufacturer of water monitoring systems, to position an automated data station near the center of the lake. The station continuously collects real-time data to help observers understand what’s happening below the surface. The data is available at www.livelakedata.com.

The federal grants are provided under Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act to reduce nonpoint source pollution (NPS), the leading cause of water quality impairment in Ohio. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants including nutrients. Other forms of NPS include modifying natural stream flow or habitat. NPS can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife. Each year, Ohio EPA administers the Section 319 grant program for U.S. EPA and distributes millions of federal dollars to NPS projects proposed by local governments and organizations in Ohio.

A fact sheet with more details about the Buckeye Lake grant projects is available at: www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/nps/319Program.aspx.

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