- WRRSP Staff are still working from home and are under Travel Restrictions. The best way to reach us is by email.
- The Spring WRRSP Updates and Information Webinar will be held at 10:00 am on May 13, 2021. Click here to register.
- WRRSP Staff will continue to conduct meetings and pre-nomination meetings via Teams. Prior to pre-nominations meetings, implementers must submit a Pre-Nomination Site Review Request Form for projects to be considered for funding.
|Schedule of Deliverables for 2022 Nominations
|May 13, 2021
|By July 15, 2021
||Complete your project's WRRSP Pre-Nomination Site Review Request Form.
NOTE: As of March 9, 2020, and until further notice, in response to COVID-19, Agency staff are under Travel Restrictions. Therefore, instead of conducting on-site Pre-nomination meetings/site visits, Implementers must submit a Pre-nomination Site Review Request Form (hyperlink) for projects to be considered for funding.
|By August 15, 2021
||Complete your project’s water resources assessments.
|By August 15, 2021
||Submit your WRRSP project nominations for WPCLF Program Year 2022/Inclusion in the WPCLF Program Management Plan.
||The WPCLF Program Management Plan is issued draft – this includes the list of Proposed fundable WRRSP projects.
||The WPCLF Program Management Plan issued final – the PMP includes the list of Intended WRRSP projects for the Fast-Track one-year cycle and the Standard two-year cycle.
New Documents and Publications
For questions, please contact Steve Malone by email or call (614) 644-3663. You may also contact any of the WRRSP specialists listed on the Contacts tab.
Frequently Asked Questions
WRRSP Eligibility and Funding Process
Administered by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, the WPCLF provides below‐market financing to Ohio communities for the planning, design and construction of wastewater treatment facilities. Within the WPCLF, the WRRSP is a specialized sponsorship program, as opposed to a traditional grant program, whereby funding is generated by individual WPCLF loans sponsoring WRRSP protection and/or restoration projects. Key stakeholders in the WRRSP program include implementers and sponsors of wastewater infrastructure projects.
To be eligible for WRRSP funding, project and costs must be directly related to restoring and/or protecting a site’s aquatic life use. Eligible projects include stream and wetland protection through fee‐simple property acquisition, and stream and wetland restoration that corrects impairments to on‐site aquatic resources. To qualify for WRRSP funding, a project must either by itself, or in concert with other past, present or future projects, result in the full protection or restoration of the aquatic resource. Streams must either be in attainment of, or be fully restored to, at least Warmwater Habitat or greater designated aquatic life use under Ohio Water Quality Standards. Wetlands must achieve, or be restored to, a Category 3 designation. Performance criteria include both habitat and biological assessment methods. The program is transitioning to requiring both pre‐ and post‐implementation biological assessments for all projects. Acquisition and/or restoration of parcels with perpetual leases or severed mineral rights, regardless of when the severance took place, will not be eligible for WRRSP funding. Implementers will be limited to no more than five open WRRSP projects at the time nominations are submitted. And all required annual reports for previous projects awarded to the implementer must have been submitted to DEFA in order to be considered for funding for any additional projects.
Projects such as trails, boardwalks, excessive upland recreational facilities and other structures, parking areas, equipment, projects that don’t meet water quality goals, required mitigation projects, appraisals, and in-house implementer costs are not eligible for WRRSP funding. Additionally, projects with severed mineral rights, encumbrances detrimental to the conservation values of the project, or other issues that may impede readiness-to-proceed may not be funded.
Typically, up to $15 million is provided annually for WRRSP projects through a highly competitive nomination and award process. Nominations are accepted each year and project scoring is based on several criteria, including:
- importance of the resource;
- restoration potential, and;
- overall effectiveness of the proposed project action.
Once scored and ranked, fundable projects are identified in DEFA’s WPCLF Program Management Plan that is issued prior to the start of the WPCLF program year.
Who can be an implementer?
Entities that implement WRRSP projects may include non‐profit conservation organizations, park districts, political sub‐divisions and even WPCLF loan recipients. Implementers partner with sponsors during the appropriate program year and, in anticipation of the revenue stream that would have been generated by the sponsoring WPCLF loan, DEFA advances a portion of this funding for the WRRSP project.
- For most projects, the WRRSP operates on a two‐year cycle. During the first year, Implementers work toward a final management plan and environmental covenant, identifying a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) sponsor and obtaining a Letter of Intent from that sponsor, and identifying the project delivery method (design-bid-build or design-build). Projects using the traditional design-bid-built method must prepare details plans for review in year 1. Projects using the design-build method must develop a detailed Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and/or Request for Proposal (RFP) during year 1. Only when these activities have been successfully completed may a project be funded during year 2 and at the same time the sponsoring WPCLF loan is awarded.
- Recognizing the need to sometimes provide funding quicker, DEFA now offers a 1-year cycle for protection projects that meet “readiness-to proceed” criteria. For more information, see the important details provided below.
Schedule for projects from the 2021 Program Management Plan (PMP)
intended for funding in 2022 (Standard two-year WRRSP cycle)
Summary of WRRSP Project Timeline (2-Year Cycle)
Summary of WRRSP Project Timeline (1-Year Cycle)
NOTE: As of March 9, 2020, and until further notice, in response to COVID-19, Agency staff are under Travel Restrictions. Therefore, instead of conducting Pre-nomination meetings/site visits, Implementers must submit a Pre-nomination Site Review Request Form for projects to be considered for funding.
Prior to submitting your project nomination, it is mandatory that you submit a Pre-Nomination Site Review Request Form. WRRSP staff will conduct a desktop review of the site based on the form. Upon completion of our desktop review, we will coordinate a conference or video conference call to discuss the project. To allow for the most productive discussion, provide high quality maps, exhibits, photos and data forms. Use one Pre-nomination form for each project. Keep in mind that corridor projects involving multiple non-adjacent parcels may need multiple Pre-nomination Forms.
The mandatory submittal of a Pre-Nomination Site Review Request Form is necessary only for any new sites not previously visited by WRRSP staff or when a project is being revised from a previous site visit or nomination.
Nominating a Project
Each year, Ohio EPA invites entities with potential WRRSP projects to nominate them for inclusion in either the fast-track or two-year funding cycle. Complete WRRSP nomination forms will be accepted during the current year's nomination period for the following Program Year. Projects are then scored, ranked and placed on the Intended Projects List in the WPCLF Program Management Plan (PMP). Please review the FAQs tab for eligibility information.
Baseline habitat assessments for existing aquatic resources, including the ORAM for wetlands and QHEI or HHEI for streams, must be submitted in the nomination form. Projects with both habitat and biological assessments will be given priority over those based only on habitat assessments. For restoration projects, both habitat and bioassessment post-restoration target scores are required.
All WRRSP projects require the placement of an Environmental Covenant (EC) on any and all acreage acquired with WRRSP funds. The EC includes use restrictions for the purpose of upholding the site’s conservation values, in perpetuity. Parties to the covenant include the property owner, holder and Ohio EPA.
Finding A Sponsor
Since WRRSP projects involve an interest rate discount for the WPCLF sponsoring loan recipient, implementers are solely responsible for contacting potential sponsors. Sponsoring projects must be scheduled for award in the appropriate program year and generate enough interest to cover the cost of the WRRSP project. Implementers may identify potential sponsors by reviewing the draft and final IPL within the annual WPCLF PMP. Note that a WRRSP project may have multiple WPCLF sponsors and/or sponsoring loans.
Project monitoring is necessary to determine whether the site’s conservation values have been met/upheld. The Sponsor and the Implementer agree that the perpetual protection and maintenance of the WRRSP Project shall be carried out in accordance with the restrictions and responsibilities identified in the Management Plan and the Environmental Covenant.
For all projects, an annual report shall be submitted to DEFA after EC recording. The annual report must document project monitoring; any changes on the property or with the project; amount of acreage restored or protected, including acreages of various habitat types; and progress of any on-going work.
Submit annual reports to Mike Kelly.
Additional documents are available on the Resources tab.
Tremper Mound and Scioto River Protection
As a long-time land conservation organization, but a first-time WRRSP implementer, the Arc of Appalachia was successful in receiving the $2.3 million funding for its high-quality Scioto River protection proposal in 2020. This impressive WRRSP project will protect, in perpetuity, 618 acres of habitat within the lower Scioto River watershed including 5,500 linear feet (LF) of Warmwater Habitat along the mainstem of the biologically diverse Scioto River, 6,500 LF of Exceptional Warmwater Habitat along Pond Creek, 5,500 LF of Class III Primary Headwater Habitat, and 12 acres of Category 3 wetlands. The project will also protect a significant archaeological site called the Tremper Mound and Works, a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)- listed Hopewell earthwork that’s approximately 2,000 years old and is the largest remaining unprotected Hopewell mound in Ohio.
Arc of Appalachia’s Tremper Mound project was sponsored by a WPCLF loan awarded to the City of Warren’s WWTP and Pump Station Refurbishment
Secor Metropark Expansion and Wetland Restoration
As part of the on-going efforts to restore Oak Openings habitat in the former Great Black Swamp area of Northwest Ohio, the Metropolitan Park District of the Toledo Area will acquire an approximately 186-acre former golf course property that contains four acres of existing Category 3 wetlands and 2,800 linear feet of stream (Prairie Ditch) and restore 163 acres of Oak Openings Category 3 wetland communities and 12 acres of upland oak savanna habitat, all adjacent to the 610 acre Secor Metropark. Existing golf infrastructure will be removed, and the site will be regraded to restore native floodplain, topography, and hydrology. Approximately 7,000 LF of ditches will be plugged/removed, and vegetation will be restored to native, local plant populations. This restoration work will complement the remaining Oak Openings habitat in the region, which currently sustains more rare species of plants and animals than any other area of a similar size in Ohio.
Metropolitation Park District of the Toledo Area’s Secor Metropark Expansion and Wetland Restoration project was sponsored by a WPCLF loan awarded to the City of Akron’s WRF Headworks Improvements project.
Read the 2019 WRRSP Progress Report
Other Funding Opportunities
Clean Ohio Fund – Ohio Department of Development – restores, protects and connects Ohio’s important natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.
Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grants – Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water - targeted to Ohio waters where nonpoint source pollution is a significant cause of aquatic life use impairments. Ohio’s 319 program works with watershed groups and others who are implementing locally developed watershed management plans and restoring surface waters impaired by NPS pollution.
Contact: John Mathews
H2Ohio – Ohio Department of Natural Resources - focused on creating, restoring or enhancing wetlands to benefit water quality.
Lake Erie Protection Fund – Ohio Lake Erie Commission - established to finance research and on-the-ground projects aimed at protecting, preserving and restoring Lake Erie and its watershed.
Contact: Lynn Garrity
- Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity - AmphIBI - Field manual for the Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity for Wetlands – A manual that documents the application, sampling, laboratory and data analysis procedures necessary to calculate the AmphIBI for wetlands. It is intended to standardize monitoring techniques for the use for the use of wetland biological assessments using amphibians as an indicator taxa.
- Appraisers List – WRRSP property appraisers must be selected from the list of ODNR pre-qualified appraisers.
- Aquatic Life Use Designations - found in the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3745- 1 Water Quality Standards
- NEW HHEI manual - Field Evaluation Manual for Ohio’s Primary Headwater Habitat Streams/Headwater Habitat Evaluation Index – A tool to provide standardized assessment methodologies for primary headwater habitat streams in Ohio. The manual presents methods that Ohio EPA has developed to better assess the actual and expected biological conditions in these waterways, and it outlines an acceptable methodology on how to classify primary headwater habitat streams.
- HMFEI - Headwater Habitat Macroinvertebrate Field Evaluation Index — a rapid bio-assessment field sampling method of benthic macroinvertebrates. (located in Section 188.8.131.52 in the NEW HHEI manual)
- HUC 12 watershed map – The U.S. Geological Survey designated 12-digit hydrologic unit codes for Ohio's 1,538 watershed assessment units (WAUs).
- IBI – Index of Biotic Integrity — biological criteria that is incorporated into the Ohio Water Quality Standards consisting of numeric values based on fish assemblage data.
- ICI - Invertebrate Community Index — biological criteria that is incorporated into the Ohio Water Quality Standards consisting of numeric values based on macroinvertebrate assemblage data.
- Integrated Report — The Integrated Report meets both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 12-digit hydrologic unit.
- Mussel Survey Protocol for Ohio – Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Ohio Ecological Services Field Office regulate impacts to State and federally protected mussels and their habitats.
- Ohio Water Development Authority — OWDA acts as the financial manager for the WRRSP and WPCLF programs.
- ORAM V.5 Manual and ORAM 10-page form — The Ohio Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (ORAM) Version 5.0 – The ORAM User’s Manual explains the underlying scientific rationale for the ORAM to provide detailed explanatory notes for the different sections and scores of the ORAM and to aid in the consistent use of the ORAM. The ORAM 10-page form consists of a series of questions used to properly categorize a wetland.
- QHEI manual and forms — Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index for evaluating stream habitat.
- QHEI manual for Lake Erie shoreline — Methods of assessing habitat in Lake Erie shoreline waters using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index
- Soil surveys – USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- State Historic Preservation Office – Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of projects on historic properties.
- TMDL — Total Maximum Daily Load program - focuses on identifying and restoring polluted rivers, streams, lakes and other surface water bodies. Information about TMDLs and water quality monitoring are organized by large watershed.
- VIBI – Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity — a vegetation-based assessment tool that is used to identify indicators of wetland condition.
- VIBI-FQ — Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity “Floristic Quality” – an enhancement to the existing VIBI protocols. The VIBI-FQ represents a streamlined version of the VIBI which reduces the amount of field data necessary for the assessment and also simplifies the calculation and interpretation of a final score.