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Grants to Focus on Reducing Nutrients In Lake Erie

Improving water quality in Ohio’s lakes and streams – especially those susceptible to blue-green algae – is a focus of this year’s federal grants for water quality improvement. Innovative and/or highly effective projects within the Lake Erie Watershed will receive strong consideration for part of the approximately $2 million funding available through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

Awards will be made to local governments, park districts and other organizations to implement projects that restore Ohio streams, reduce nutrients or decrease sediment (soil that runs off the land). These types of indirect discharges are known as nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Projects that correct damage caused by stream modification or affect riparian habitat also will be considered.

The deadline for application is August 14, 2015 for funding during state fiscal year 2016.

Types of projects include but are not limited to:

  • stream restoration and/or dam removal projects;
  • wetland restoration and/or re-naturalization;
  • sediment and nutrient reduction;
  • regional watershed implementation support;
  • inland lake management; and
  • riparian habitat restoration.

Applications also must include project-specific educational and public outreach activities describing how the successes of the project will be communicated throughout the affected community.

In the United States, NPS pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment. NPS pollution is caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants which are then deposited in lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waterways. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife. In 1987, Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act amendments created a national grant program to control NPS pollution. Ohio EPA administers this grant program with funding from U.S. EPA, distributing more than $2 million each year to projects proposed by local governments and community organizations.

More information about grant opportunities is available online.

Completed applications may be mailed or delivered to Russ Gibson, NPS Program Manager, or Martha Spurbeck, Ohio EPA/Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio, 43216-1049. All grant applications will be reviewed for completeness, technical merit and adherence to the 1987 Amendment to the Clean Water Act., U.S. EPA Section 319(h) Program Guidance and 2016 request for proposals criteria.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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