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Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program Awards More Than $165 Million in 16 Years

Created in 2000, the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) uses interest monies from Water Control Pollution Loan Fund (WPCLF) sponsor projects to fund preservation and restoration of high-quality water resources. Throughout Ohio, more than $165 million has been awarded for projects in 30 counties and 69 watersheds. Beginning in 2015, DEFA initiated a WRRSP program evaluation to identify accomplishments and areas for improvement. DEFA staff field surveyed all WRRSP project sites, verifying project status and identifying how each supports the program’s goal of protecting and restoring Ohio water quality. Almost all projects met or exceeded expectations related to sustained water quality benefits.

In December 2016, DEFA hosted an open house for WRRSP stakeholders, including project sponsors, consultants, city and regional park district representatives, soil and water conservation district offices, land conservancies and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The meeting highlighted program successes and described upcoming changes to the application process. Participants were able to ask questions and provided some great suggestions for improving the program. Based on the feedback received, program improvements under consideration include:

  • Establish more consistent annual reporting of project information.
  • Implement more signage at project sites, for boundary and project identification.
  • Develop more post-implementation and long-term project monitoring, involving Ohio EPA, local implementers and other water resource professionals.
  • Provide improved guidelines for hunting/trapping at sites where it will help reduce damage to plant and animal species.
  • Work with Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water (DSW) staff, implementers and other stakeholders to help target areas around the state in critical need of water resource restoration and/or protection.
  • Explore limited use of a one-year WRRSP funding cycle for less complex priority projects.
  • ncrease awareness of WRRSP projects, benefits and implementers through special news articles, local ground- breaking/ribbon-cutting events and Ohio EPA director site visits.

Ohio EPA is pleased with the WRRSP’s accomplishments to date. Looking forward, we hope to make the WRRSP an even more effective tool for water quality improvement and water resource protection in Ohio. For more information visit our website or contact Tom Harcarik at (614) 644-3639 or tom.harcarik@epa.ohio.gov.

Environmental Benefits to Date:

  • Funding 128 unique projects with 39 different sponsors, working with 53 different implementers.
  • Protecting 14,715 total acres including:
    • Preserving 4,500 acres of wetlands and 399,225 linear feet (75.6 miles) of rivers and streams.
    • Restoring 703 acres of wetlands and 119,539 linear feet (22.6 miles) of streams and rivers.
    • Removing 12 dams.
    • Recording 176 environmental covenants and 54 conservation easements or deed restrictions.

WRRSP funding preserves and protects high-quality resources, such as the Oak Opening preserve in Northwest Ohio.

More than 40 stakeholders attended Ohio EPA’s WRRSP open house event in December 2016.