$35,000 awarded to Ohio watershed groups

On Oct. 26, Dominion Energy and Western Reserve Land Conservancy awarded $35,000 in grant funding to nineteen Ohio watershed groups. The awards ceremony took place at the Land Conservancy’s Conservation Center.

“Ohio’s watershed groups are critical to protecting the health of our freshwater resources,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy.

A watershed is an area of land that drains all streams and rainfall to a common waterbody. 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. Healthy watersheds benefit people, animals and plants.

Cochran added, “We are extremely grateful to partner with Dominion Energy again this year to support the important and innovative work of watershed groups across the state, from more traditional planting projects along streambanks to unique education programs in schools and communities.”

“Dominion Energy is proud to partner with Western Reserve Land Conservancy for this annual Watershed Mini Grants Program,” said Jim Eck, Dominion Energy vice president, Ohio & West Virginia Distribution Operations. “This year’s award-winning organizations have more than lived up to the high standards of creativity, commitment and enthusiasm, set by past honorees. Recognizing such outstanding grassroots effort is a key element of Dominion Energy’s environmental and community service commitment. We congratulate all of the award winning watershed organizations across Ohio.”

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Jim Eck of Dominion Energy (left) and Betsy Juliano of Western Reserve Land Conservancy (right) congratulate Heather Elmer and Alicia Beattie (middle) Chagrin River Watershed Partners on their Spotlight Award.

For the second time, Chagrin River Watershed Partners (Willoughby, OH) received the Spotlight Award and a grant of $5,000 in support of their project to promote forest resilience and protect coldwater streams. The project aims to improve forest structure and increase tree species diversity across 500 acres in northeast Ohio to create and enhance high-quality habitat along the Chagrin River. Chagrin River Watershed Partners received the Spotlight Award in 2015 as well.

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

  • Bass Lake Club (Chardon, OH): $1,000 to remove invasive species and plant native species around areas that drain to Bass Lake and the Chagrin River.
  • Captina Conservancy (Barnesville, OH): $1,500 to purchase a drone to capture footage for landowner outreach and education as well as easement promotion and monitoring.
  • Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District (Cleveland, OH): $2,500 for materials and supplies to support tree plantings and stream cleanups in 49 communities served by the district.
  • Doan Brook Watershed Partnership (Cleveland, OH): $1,500 to host a public rain garden workshop at the Cleveland Public Library-Rice Branch and install a rain garden at the library.
  • Friends of Euclid Creek (Cleveland, OH): $2,000 for materials and supplies to expand the riparian buffer along the main branch of Euclid Creek near the Community Christian Church.
  • Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (Columbus, OH): $2,500 to restore a portion of Slyh Run and reconnect the stream to its floodplain, improving water quality in the Olentangy Watershed.
  • Friends of the Mahoning River (Warren, OH): $1,500 for presentation materials and equipment to educate the public and raise awareness of the Mahoning River watershed.
  • Friends of Scioto Brush Creek, Inc. (Otway, OH): $1,300 to provide educational programming for 6th – 12th graders in Scioto County’s Northwest School District who have chosen to participate in Future Farmers of America and/or Envirothon programs.
  • Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (Cincinnati, OH): $2,500 to launch an initiative to train volunteers and plant live-stakes (tree cuttings) along the lower banks of the Great Miami River throughout Hamilton County.
  • Little Beaver Creek Wild & Scenic River Advisory Council (Salem, OH): $1,500 for a year-long series of events and articles to educate, promote, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Little Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic Advisory Council.
  • Little Miami Watershed Network (Bellbrook, OH): $700 for the creation of materials to educate, promote, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Little Miami River, one of Ohio’s first state and national scenic rivers.
  • LoCo ‘Yaks (Lorain, OH): $1,500 for the creation of materials and advertisements to promote Marine Debris Prevention Educational Programs, recruit volunteers, and educate the public on actions they can take to improve water quality in the Black River watershed.
  • Mercer County Soil & Water Conservation District (Celina, OH): $1,500 to host the third event in the “Our Land, Our Water” educational series – a Drive-It-Yourself farm tour highlighting successful conservation projects in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s and Western Lake Erie Basin watersheds.
  • Mill Creek Watershed Partnership (Cleveland, OH): $1,500 for outreach and educational materials to raise awareness about Mill Creek watershed, the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.
  • Northeast Ohio Public Information and Public Education (Painesville, OH): $1,500 to create a comprehensive educational campaign, On the Road to Clean Water: Get Smart about Salt! Funding will be used to disseminate materials and host workshops for residents and municipalities on smart road salting practices.
  • Partners for Clean Streams (Perrysburg, OH): $1,500 to augment the Clear Choices, Clean Water – Greater Toledo Lake Erie campaign to increase awareness about choices individuals make and the impact they have on our streams and lakes.
  • Rocky River Watershed Council (Cleveland, OH): $2,500 to plant native trees and establish a streamside forest along Abram Creek located between NASA-Glen Research Center and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Brook Park, OH.
  • Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (Twinsburg, OH): $1,500 to purchase an interactive educational tool that will be used at community events to capture individuals’ attention and raise awareness about and water quality in the Tinker’s Creek watershed.

Dominion Energy and Western Reserve Land Conservancy launched the Watershed Mini Grant Program in 2015 to serve organizations working to protect and improve land around rivers, lakes and streams throughout Ohio. Since the program’s inception, more than $105,000 has been awarded to 30 different watershed groups across the state.

Map of 2017 Mini Grant Award Winners