Simply put, water is life.
Yet, communities throughout the state have long-faced water quality issues caused by nutrient pollution, failing septic tanks, and lead contamination.
H2Ohio, a new environmental program recently established by the state, aims to change all that. The centerpiece of this program is a fund – approximately $900 million – that will help address critical water quality needs and support innovative solutions to some of the state’s most pressing water challenges over the next 10 years.
Black Swamp Conservancy has been at the table on this initiative since early in its development, and in April 2019, we were invited to join conservation leaders from around the state in Columbus. We met with Gov. DeWine, Lt. Gov. Husted, the Directors of Agriculture, EPA and Department of Natural Resources, and the Lake Erie Commission to discuss H2Ohio and the ways we can work together to improve Ohio’s important waters.
That conversation continued over the summer when the Conservancy’s staff toured agency officials through some of the stream and wetland restoration projects we’ve completed and new sites where we’re hoping to accomplish similar projects over the next few years.
We submitted several shovel-ready projects for consideration, four of which the State has selected for implementation under the H2Ohio program located on the Sandusky, Maumee and St. Joseph Rivers. We’re now working with ODNR’s staff to develop work plans and budgets for these exciting projects, which include the acquisition of a new property for use as a nature preserve, as well as floodplain, stream and wetland restorations throughout the western Lake Erie Basin.
We look forward to sharing more details with you soon! You can learn more about the H2Ohio program online at H2Ohio.gov.