More than $35,000 awarded to Ohio watershed groups

On Oct. 20, Dominion and Western Reserve Land Conservancy awarded $35,025 in grant funding to sixteen Ohio watershed groups for marketing, promotions and outreach efforts as well as project-specific restoration or water quality improvement project expenses. The ceremony took place at the Land Conservancy’s Conservation Center.

Through the support of Dominion, Western Reserve Land Conservancy launched the Watershed Mini Grant Program last year to serve organizations working to protect and improve land around rivers, lakes and streams throughout Ohio.

“Dominion is proud to partner with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the second year of the Watershed Mini Grants Program,” said Tracy Oliver, director media & local affairs for Dominion. “Funding meaningful projects that encourage the understanding, appreciation and preservation of our environment is a key focus for us.  Congratulations to all of the award winning watershed organizations across Ohio.”

Two organizations were recognized with Spotlight Awards and grants of $5,000 in support of larger water quality improvement or restoration projects.

  • The Captina Conservancy (Barnesville, OH) received an award for their Repair-A-Riparian Project in Belmont County. Once completed, the project will enhance and connect three acres of priority stream corridors in the Captina Creek Watershed to improve and preserve the chemical, physical, and biological health of Captina Creek and its tributaries.
  • The Little Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Advisory Council (Salem, OH) received an award for their Greenway Trail Culvert Replacement project in Columbiana County. The award will help the council and its partners remove an existing culvert and replace it with an open bottom structure to facilitate normal flows and fish passage stabilizing the adjacent streambanks and reducing sedimentation.

The following organizations received grant awards for marketing, promotions and outreach efforts as well as project-specific costs:

  • Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow (Hebron, OH): $1,500 for their Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow Carp Fest which will promote awareness of the carp’s impact on water quality in Buckeye Lake and involve the community in removing the invasive species.
  • Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. (Willoughby, OH): $1,500to partner with the City of Mentor and Lake Soil and Water Conservation District to install three rain gardens in the public right of way and on private properties in residential neighborhoods. These rain gardens will reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and mitigate street and yard flooding.
  • Doan Brook Watershed Partnership (Cleveland, OH): $2,300 to host a booth at the Shaker Farmers Market where environmental educators will teach household stormwater management practices including how to build rain barrels and rain gardens.
  • Friends of Euclid Creek (Valley View, OH): $2,000 to create an ecological management plan for a conserved property with a state-endangered plant and headwater wetlands on Euclid Creek.
  • Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (Columbus, OH): $1,500 to support the Branch-Out Olentangy Media (BOOM) campaign which will inform residents of the organization’s expanded tree planting program.
  • Great Miami River Joint Board (Lebanon, OH): $2,500 to build floating treatment wetlands with native emergent plants. The wetlands will be strategically placed in a tributary of Indian Lake to filter nutrients and pollutants before entering the lake.
  • Little Miami Watershed Network (Bellbrook, OH): $1,500 to deliver watershed education and outreach materials to students in the Kettering City School District.
  • Mill Creek Watershed Partnership (Cleveland, OH): $1,125 to reestablish woody vegetation along the banks of Mill Creek in Maple Heights in order to stabilize and reinforce stream banks.
  • Northeast Ohio Public Information and Public Education (Burton, OH): $1,500 to promote On the Road to Clean Water: Lake Erie Starts Here!, a regional watershed message, through digital television advertisements in fifteen Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices across eight Northeast Ohio counties.
  • Partners for Clean Streams (Perrysburg, OH): $2,500 to expand their Fishing Line Recycling Bin Project in an effort to reduce the inappropriately discarded fishing line at fishing hotspots around the greater Toledo metro area.
  • Preble Soil and Water Conservation District (Eaton, OH): $1,500 to build a permanent, educational rain garn and rain barrel display at the Preble County Fairgrounds.
  • Rocky River Watershed Council (Valley View, OH): $2,500 to develop and implement a watershed “Good Neighbor” program for landowners in the Plum Creek subwatershed in northern Medina County.
  • Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners (Twinsburg, OH): $1,100 to help watershed communities implement a demonstration stormwater control measure to educate residents and business owners.
  • Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership (Delaware, OH): $1,500 to promote the 2017 Agronomy Workshop & Expo which will focus on best agricultural management practices for water quality.

Healthy watersheds benefit people, animals and plants. Water quality can be affected by many things – human and non-human – but habitat degradation and nonpoint source pollution are two of the biggest continuing problems. The quality of our water is affected by alterations to the land – mining, roadways, agriculture, urban development, deforestation and the everyday activities of the people within the watershed.

“Everyone lives in a watershed. We depend on our lakes, rivers and streams to provide clean water for drinking, irrigation and industry as well as habitat for wildlife,” explained Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy. “We thank Ohio’s watershed groups for recognizing potential threats, devising plans, taking corrective actions and educating the public about the importance of our watersheds. We also thank Dominion for their partnership in supporting these efforts.”

Cochran said the Land Conservancy’s goal is to build long-lasting relationships with watershed groups.