Ohio Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program

Traditional images of water pollution often consist of a pipe spewing industrial contaminants into a river. The Clean Water Act helped solve many of Ohio's traditional pollution problems. Remaining problems are more challenging and may be traced to two kinds of pollutants: polluted run off and physical alterations to a stream or river channel. These are referred to as nonpoint sources of pollution since they are the result of a land use and/or man-made changes to a river rather than flowing from a single point of discharge.

Polluted run off is rain or snow melt flowing across the land picking up contaminants such as sediment, nutrients or bacteria, carrying these pollutants to small streams that eventually flow into a larger river. Physical alterations are changes made to a stream channel or stream banks and include activities such as the conversion of headwater streams into drainage ditches, constructing levees and dams, and straightening a stream to encourage improved drainage. Physical alterations also include activities such as removing trees along a river bank or installing rock rip-rap on a river bank to prevent erosion.

Running WaterThe primary causes of nonpoint source impairment in Ohio streams are habitat alteration, hydro-modification to stream channels, sediment and excessive nutrients. Streams in agricultural areas of Ohio appear most frequently to be impaired by physical alterations, such as ditching, and impairments caused from excessive sediment and nutrients. Streams in urban and rapidly developing residential areas of the state are further impaired by nonpoint causes such as lowhead dams and nonpoint source contaminants carried off land surfaces by increased storm water runoff. In the coalfield regions of southeastern Ohio, another cause of impairment is abandoned mine drainage, which has impaired more than 1,300 miles of streams in the region.

Fortunately, management practices to address nonpoint source pollution are becoming more effective. Previous efforts to address these types of problems often consisted of implementing demonstration practices and trying new techniques for managing the ubiquitous nature of nonpoint source pollutants. Years of trial and error are resulting in a much broader understanding of management practices needed to restore impaired waters and improve water quality.

Physical alterations may be addressed using restoration practices such as removing lowhead dams, eliminating or modifying levees and restoring floodplains and riparian forest cover. Headwater streams previously converted into drainage ditches are effectively being restored using natural stream channel design techniques. Polluted run-off is being more effectively reduced using pollution prevention practices such as replacing failing home sewage treatment systems, installing riparian filter strips and controlled drainage systems or restoring ditches to 2-stage channels to allow for more natural stream function. Many other practices designed to slow the flow of nutrients from croplands, and sediment from mining sites and construction sites are also available to improve the health of Ohio's rivers and streams.

Twin Creek Preserve used funds from Ohio EPA for a wetland construction and stream restoration project that turned this highly visible urban watershed into a new streamside park. This 30-acre project was implemented by Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities, City of Sharonville, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and Butler County Water and Sewer.

Ohio EPA's update to the Ohio Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Plan was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2014. This important update provides direction and strategic focus to Ohio EPA's programs and activities geared toward reducing the impacts of nonpoint source pollution such as hydromodification, habitat alteration, polluted runoff and adds other activities like Invasive Species management and innovative storm water management demonstrations. Management Practices listed in the update are now eligible for federal Section 319 grant funding and grants awarded from other sources. Since Ohio EPA is not altering the scope of the previously updated nonpoint source management plan, a full revision to the Management Plan was not required. As a result, Ohio EPA focused updated strategies and practices only on programming actions for which Ohio EPA is the primary implementer and/or facilitator.

Ohio's approved NPS Management Plan update incorporates large sections from Ohio's recently submitted Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This information was derived following collaboration and input from a large number of agricultural and urban stakeholders. Moving forward Ohio's NPS Management Plan will implement several provisions of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Ohio's updated plan also incorporates objectives for Ohio EPA's Lake Erie Program, as well as strategies for dealing with NPS issues in urban waters as well as protection activities critical to protecting high quality waters. For information about Ohio's updated NPS Management Plan, contact Rick Wilson at (614) 644-2032.

FFY2019 — Project Application Deadline March 15, 2019


In 1987 the federal Clean Water Act amendments created a national program to control nonpoint source pollution, established under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C 1329). Ohio EPA is the designated water quality agency responsible for administering the Ohio 319 program. Since 1990, Ohio EPA has annually applied for, received and distributed Section 319 grant funds to correct NPS caused water quality impairment to Ohio’s surface water resources. Section 319(h) implementation grant funding is targeted to Ohio waters where NPS pollution is a significant cause of aquatic life use impairments. The cornerstone of Ohio’s 319 program is working with watershed groups and others who are implementing locally developed watershed management plans and restoring surface waters impaired by NPS pollution.

Annual Report

Section 319 Subgrant Success Stories

Section 319 Project Summary Reports

Section 319 Subgrant Guidance Sheets

Previous Year's Section 319 Grant Application Materials






General Section 319 Grant Documents

  • FAQs - Local Match Contributions for 319 Grants
  • USEPA Volunteer Monitor's Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP)
    If new, quantitative environmental data or direct environmental measurements are taken as part of a 319 implementation grant, and the data will be used to draw environmental conclusions (such as, but not limited to: pollutant loading reductions, design criteria for management practice implementation, environmental management decisions, restoration options, mapping, field verification of data, etc.), the subgrantee must submit a QAPP to consistent with the above-referenced guidance.
  • 2003 Health and Safety Checklist
    This checklist is provided to outline key information to recognize and plan for potential field hazards when conducting water resource sampling and evaluation work per an Ohio EPA approved QAPP.

Nine-Element Nonpoint Source Implementation Strategies (9-Element NPS-IS) in Ohio

  • The 9-Element NPS-IS is a strategic plan that provides assurance to nonpoint source grant programs and institutions (i.e., U.S. EPA) that, as described, a proposed water quality project meets the 9 Essential Elements per U.S. EPA §319 Program Guidance (April 2013).
  • For a project to be eligible for Ohio EPA Section 319 Funding, a proposed project must be described in a U.S. EPA-approved 9-Element NPS-IS for the HUC-12 watershed in which the project is located.
  • The NPS-IS ensures that potentially funded projects are: rooted in the best science available; located in areas that will address the worst problems; and that have the administrative, evaluation, and educational components needed to ensure that the water resource will achieve as much long term benefit as possible.
  • The NPS-IS is a living strategic planning document that summarizes causes and sources of impairment, established critical areas, identifies quantifiable objectives to address causes and sources of impairment, and describes projects designed to meet those objectives.
  • Each NPS-IS is unique at the HUC-12 scale. The NPS-IS is designed to evolve as projects come and go. Likewise, every updated version (containing new projects and/or new data) must be reviewed and approved by Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA.

Assistance Documents for Developing 9-Element Nonpoint Source Implementation Strategic Plans & Approved 9-Element Plans

Rick Wilson, (614) 644-2032

Current List of Watersheds with Approved 9-Element Nonpoint Source Implementation Strategies

HUC 12 HUC 12 Name NPS-IS Version and Approval Date
041000010301 Shantee Creek Version 1.0, November 20, 2018
041000010303 Prairie Ditch Version 1.0, June 15, 2018
041000010304 Headwaters Tenmile Creek Version 1.0, July 5, 2018
041000010306 Tenmile Creek Version 1.0, Aug. 24, 2017
041000010307 Heldman Ditch-Ottawa River Version 1.0, Aug. 2, 2017
  • Version 1.1, October 3, 2018
  • Version 1.2, April 12, 2019
041000010308 Sibley Creek-Ottawa River Version 1.0, October 22, 2018
041000010309 Detwiler Ditch Version 1.0, October 10, 2018
041000080103 The Outlet-Blanchard River Version 1.0, October 10, 2018
041000080205 Blanchard River-City of Findlay Version 1.0, February 20, 2019
041000080403 Marsh Run-Little Riley Version 1.0, September 26, 2018
041000080405 Lower Riley Creek-Blanchard River Version 1.0, January 30, 2019
041000080501 Tiderishi Creek Version 1.0, April 5, 2018
041000090201 Preston Run-Maumee River Version 1.0, Aug. 7, 2017
041000090701 Ai Creek Version 1.0, July 20, 2018
041000090702 Fewless Creek - Swan Creek Version 1.0, June 25, 2018
041000090703 Gale Run-Swan Creek Version 1.0, November 16, 2018
041000100705 Berger Ditch Version 1.0, November 20, 2018
041000090801 Upper Blue Creek Version 1.0, November 16, 2018
041000090802 Lower Blue Creek Version 1.0, July 6, 2018
041000090803 Wolf Creek Version 1.0, Aug. 17, 2017
041000090804 Heilman Ditch - Swan Creek Version 1.0, May 22, 2017
041000090901 Grassy Creek Diversion Version 1.0, August 7, 2018
041000090902 Grassy Creek Version 1.0, October 25, 2018
041000090904 Delaware Creek - Maumee River Version 1.0, May 10, 2017
041000100601 Upper Toussaint Version 1.0, August 21, 2018
041000100602 Packer Creek Version 1.0, July 20, 2018
041000100603 Lower Toussaint River Version 1.0, May 16, 2018
041000100701 Turtle Creek Version 1.0, June 12, 2018
041000100702 Crane Creek Version 1.0, June 15, 2018
041000100703 Cedar Creek-Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, July 16, 2018
041000100704 Wolf Creek-Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, August 21, 2018
041000100706 Otter Creek - Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, May 12, 2017
041100010201 Headwaters East Branch Rocky River Version 1.0, June 22, 2017
041100010202 Baldwin Creek-East Branch Rocky River Version 1.0, June 27, 2019
041100010204 Cahoon Creek-Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, May 14, 2019
041100020203 Lake Rockwell-Cuyahoga River Version 1.0, April 6, 2017
041100020501 Pond Brook Version 1.0, July 5, 2017
041100020502 Headwaters Tinkers Creek Version 1.0, July 6, 2017
041100020504 Town of Twinsburg-Tinkers Creek Version 1.0, Aug. 8, 2017
041100020601 Mill Creek—Cuyahoga River Version 1.0, July 17, 2017
  • Version 1.1, May 3, 2018
041100020603 Big Creek Version 1.0, June 9, 2017
041100020604 Cuyahoga Heights-Cuyahoga River (West Creek) Version 1.0, June 9, 2017
041100030203 Arcola Creek Version 1.0, June 27, 2019
041100030204 McKinley Creek-Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, May 22, 2017
041100030301 Silver Creek Version 1.0, June 19, 2017
041100030303 McFarland Creek-Aurora Branch Version 1.0, April 13, 2017
  • Version 1.1, July 6, 2018
  • Version 1.2, August 14, 2019
041100030304 Beaver Creek-Chagrin River Version 1.0, March 1, 2017
  • Version 1.1, August 14, 2019
041100030302 Headwaters Aurora Branch Version 1.0, May 12, 2017
041100030401 East Branch Chagrin River Version 1.0, May 10, 2017
  • Version 1.2, August 14, 2019
041100030402 Griswold Creek-Chagrin River Version 1.0, March 9, 2017
  • Version 1.1, Nov. 27, 2017 
  • Version 1.2, May 3, 2018
  • Version 1.3, August 14, 2019
041100030501 Marsh Creek-Frontal Lake Erie Version 1.0, May 10, 2017
  • Version 1.1, July 16, 2018
041100030503 Euclid Creek Version 1.0, June 7, 2017
  • Version 1.1, July 13, 2018
041100030504 Doan Brook Version 1.0, February 26, 2019
041100040606 Big Creek—Lower Grand Version 1.0, July 27, 2017
041100040607 Red Creek-Grand River Version 1.0, May 8, 2017
050103060904 Piney Creek - Captina Creek Version 1.0, April 27, 2018
050301030406 Chocolate Run - Mahoning River Version 1.0, August 14, 2019
050301030603 City of Warren - Mahoning River Version 1.0, August 14, 2019
050302040402 Baldwin Run Version 1.0, May 12, 2017
050400010102 Pigeon Creek Version 1.0, April 1, 2019
050400011204 Tuscarawas River: Wolf Run – Tuscarawas River Version 1.0, May 14, 2018
050400030302 Kokosing River—Armstrong Run Version 1.0, May 25, 2018
050901010205 Town of Zaleski—Raccoon Creek Version 1.0, March 5, 2018
050302020106 Sandy Creek-Belpre Version 1.0, June 7, 2019
050302040801 Hamley Run—Hocking River Version 1.0, Feb. 6, 2018
050600010302 Headwaters Little Scioto River Version 1.0, April 12, 2018
050600011503 Headwaters Blacklick Creek Version 1.0, Feb. 22, 2017
  • Version 1.1, April 12, 2019
050600011601 Westerville Reservoir-Alum Creek Version 1.0, March 12, 2019
050902030103 Sharon Creek-Mill Creek Version 1.0, Feb. 24, 2017
050902030104 Congress Run—Mill Creek Version 1.0, Oct. 27, 2017
050902021102 Fivemile Creek-East Fork Little Miami River Version 1.0, July 31, 2017
050902021305 Salt Run-East Fork Little Miami River Version 1.0, June 27, 2019
051201010201 Chickasaw Creek Version 1.0, June 29, 2017
051201010202 Headwaters Beaver Creek Version 1.0, June 7, 2017
051201010204 Grand Lake St. Marys (Tributaries and Lake) Version 1.0, June 12, 2019

Current List of Watersheds with Equivalent Nonpoint Source Implementation Strategies

HUC_12 HUC_12_Name
041000030104 Bird Creek-East Branch St Joseph River
041000030106 Clear Fork-East Branch St Joseph River
041000030204 West Branch St Joseph River
041000030301 Nettle Creek
041000030302 Cogswell Cemetery-St Joseph River
041000030303 Eagle Creek
041000030304 Village of Montpelier-St Joseph River
041000030305 Bear Creek
041000030306 West Buffalo Cemetery-St Joseph River
041000030402 Headwaters Fish Creek
041000030405 Town of Alvarado-Fish Creek
041000030406 Cornell Ditch-Fish Creek
041000030501 Bluff Run-St. Joseph River
041000030502 Big Run
041000030503 Russell Run-St. Joseph River
041000030505 Willow Run-St. Joseph River
041000030506 Sol Shank Ditch-St. Joseph River
041000050201 Zuber Cutoff
041000050202 North Chaney Ditch-Maumee River
041000050203 Marie DeLarme Creek
041000050204 Gordon Creek
041000050205 Sixmile Cutoff-Maumee River
041000050206 Platter Creek
041000050207 Sulphur Creek-Maumee River
041000050208 Snooks Run-Maumee River
* All proposed §319 projects or GLRI projects in these HUCs must be consistent with the practices described in these U.S. EPA-approved plans.

Current List of Watersheds with Equivalent Acid Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment (AMDAT) Plans

HUC_12 HUC_12_Name
050301010701 Headwaters Yellow Creek
050301010702 Elkhorn Creek
050301010703 Upper North Fork
050301010704 Long Run-Yellow Creek
050301010801 Town Fork
050301010802 Headwaters North Fork Yellow Creek
050301010803 Salt Run-North Fork Yellow Creek
050301010804 Hollow Rock Run-Yellow Creek
050301060303 Cox Run-Wheeling Creek
050302020701 Headwaters Leading Creek
050302020702 Mud Fork
050302020703 Ogden Run-Leading Creek
050302020704 Little Leading Creek
050302020705 Thomas Fork
050302020706 Parker Run-Leading Creek
050302040101 Center Branch
050302040102 Headwaters Rush Creek
050302040103 Clark Run-Rush Creek
050302040201 Headwaters Little Rush Creek
050302040501 Little Monday Creek
050302040502 Lost Run-Monday Creek
050302040503 Snow Fork
050302040504 Kitchen Run-Monday Creek
050302040701 East Branch Sunday Creek
050302040702 Dotson Creek-Sunday Creek
050302040703 West Branch Sunday Creek
050302040704 Greens Run-Sunday Creek
050302040901 Miners and Hyde Forks
050302040902 McDougall Branch
050302040903 Kasler Creek-Federal Creek
050302040904 Sharps Fork
050302040905 Big Run-Federal Creek
050400010804 Huff Run
050400011304 Buttermilk Creek-Stillwater Creek
050400011802 Mud Run-Tuscarawas River
050400040501 Black Fork
050400040502 Upper Moxahala Creek
050400040503 Middle Moxahala Creek
050400040504 Lower Moxahala Creek
050400040801 Brush Creek
050901010201 East Branch Raccoon Creek
050901010202 West Branch Raccoon Creek
050901010203 Brushy Fork
050901010204 Twomile Run-Raccoon Creek
050901010205 Town of Zaleski-Raccoon Creek
050901010301 Hewett Fork
050901010302 Headwaters Elk Fork
050901010303 Flat Run-Elk Fork
050901010304 Flat Run-Raccoon Creek
050901010401 Headwaters Little Raccoon Creek
050901010402 Dickason Run
050901010403 Meadow Run-Little Raccoon Creek
050901010404 Deer Creek-Little Raccoon Creek
050901010501 Pierce Run
050901010502 Strongs Run
050901010503 Flatlick Run-Raccoon Creek
050901010504 Robinson Run-Raccoon Creek
050901010601 Indian Creek
050901010602 Barren Creek-Raccoon Creek
050901010603 Mud Creek-Raccoon Creek
050901010604 Bullskin Creek
050901010605 Claylick Run-Raccoon Creek
* All proposed §319 projects in these HUCs must be consistent with the practices described in the plan

GRLI (Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) 

Additional project summaries are available in the Section 319 Program Annual Reports

2010 Cuyahoga County Surface Water Improvement Grant Program

2011 Buckeye Lake Nutrient Reduction Grant Program

2012 Cuyahoga County Surface Water Improvement Grant Program

2012 Lucas County Stormwater Demonstration Grant Program

2012 Powell Creek, Defiance County, Nutrient Reduction Grant Program

2013 Hancock County Sediment and Phosphorus Reduction in the Lye Creek Watershed

2014 Brokensword, Crawford County, Nutrient Reduction Grant Program

2014 Cuyahoga County Surface Water Improvement Grant Program

2014 Maumee River Sediment & Nutrient Reduction Grant Program

2016 Maumee Agricultural Habitat Restoration Grant Program

2017 Lake Erie Tributary Water Quality Restoration Grant Program

John Mathews
Nonpoint Source Section Manager

Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water
50 W. Town St., Ste. 700
PO Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049

(614) 265-6685 [voice]
(614) 644-2745 [fax]
email: john.mathews@epa.ohio.gov