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GLIN==> Federal Funds Strengthen Conservation Efforts in Great Lakes Region


Jeff Raifsnider, Public Affairs Specialist
Natural Resources Conservation  Service    
(614) 255-2471

Federal Funds Strengthen Conservation Efforts in Great Lakes Region

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Water quality improvements in the Great Lakes basin will receive a boost from $2.5 million in federal conservation funds to support erosion and sediment control and protective land use practices in Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes region.  The funds will strengthen the Great Lakes Basin Program (GLBP) for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, which supports local conservation efforts in the Great Lakes basin.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will present the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) with $2.5 million in conservation funds during a ceremony at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODNR) headquarters in Columbus on July 11.  The GLC administers the conservation program, which receives technical support from the NRCS and other conservation partners.  

NRCS State Conservationist for Ohio, Kevin Brown said, “Ohio’s technical assistance and demonstration projects in the Great Lakes region have focused on agricultural, streambank and urban erosion.  The NRCS, the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and others have partnered with the GLC to prevent the loss of valuable topsoil on about 2,300 acres that are treated with various conservation practices for erosion and sediment control.  This prevents a great deal of phosphorus and nitrogen from polluting surface waters every year.”
The GLBP has supported 34 erosion and sediment control projects in Ohio since 1991, to address soil erosion and sediment control projects that total $966,195, with an additional 25-percent match required from non-federal sources.  NRCS State Conservationist Kevin Brown will present the $2.5 million in federal funds to President and CEO of the GLC, Michael J. Donahue and to ODNR Director, Sam Speck, who is the Chairman of the Board of the GLC during the ceremony, to be held at 11:00 a.m. on July 11 at the ODNR, 1930 Belcher Drive, Bldg. D in Columbus, OH.

The GLBP is a federal, state and local partnership that has supported well over 200 demonstration and technical assistance projects.  In addition to supporting land conservation treatment methods, the program provides regional information and education to developers, contractors, homeowners and to the public.   

The GLBP is coordinated by the eight-state, Great Lakes Commission in partnership with the NRCS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The program was established in 1988 with the support of the eight Great Lakes states and relevant agencies.  Congress approved start up funds in 1990 and recently authorized the program in the 2002 Farm Bill.  A competitive annual grants program is one of the GLBP’s biggest success stories.  Basin Program demonstration grants have improved fish and wildlife habitat in numerous areas across the Great Lakes Basin and have involved hundreds of community volunteers in watershed improvement projects.

2003 Great Lakes Basin Program grants in Ohio include:

Restoring Portage River Oxbow and Floodplain Connections: $100,000
Wood Soil and Water Conservation District.
Contact: Jim Carter, 419-352-5172

Ottawa River Watershed Sediment Control Demonstration Project: $100,000
Ottawa River Coalition.
Contact: Beth Seibert, 419-223-0040 ext. 107

Primary Headwater Stream Initiative: $29,803
Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Contact: Matt Scharver, 440-350-2031

Reducing Soil and Nutrient Loss By Cutting Nitrogen Rates: $29,500
Conservation Action Project.
Contact: William Rohrs, 419-592-9692

Streamside Vegetation for Education: $30,000
Ohio Lake Management Society.
Contact: Matthew Smith, 330-672-5475