Special to 1812Blockhouse with local updates
Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz have announced plans for more than two dozen new H2Ohio wetland projects to naturally improve water quality across Ohio.
“Our water is such an incredibly valuable resource, and building and restoring wetlands brings us closer to having cleaner water throughout the state,” said Governor DeWine. “We are making great strides through the work of H2Ohio, and I look forward to seeing even more progress in the years to come.”
Twenty-five new wetland projects will soon launch in 22 counties including Allen, Athens, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Henry (2), Madison, Mahoning, Medina, Mercer, Montgomery, Ottawa, Pickaway, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Summit (3), Wayne, and Wyandot. The projects will be funded through ODNR’s $25 million H2Ohio allocation in the current state operating budget.
In Richland County, funding was awarded to the West Creek Conservancy for the Clear Fork Preserve Project. The wetland creation project was granted $698,891. The Conservancy is in the process of acquiring and restoring 213 acres of farmland in Sandusky Township. Once work is completed, the Conservancy is planning on turning the property over the County Park district for management.
Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, like phosphorus, from the water before the materials flow into waterways and contribute to harmful algal blooms. So far, ODNR has completed or restored 23 wetlands in Ohio. The 25 new wetlands announced today bring the total number of projects underway or complete to 113.
“We have been moving forward with project after project, putting boots on the ground, and investing time and money into what science shows is a long-term solution to Ohio’s water quality issues,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “I am thankful for the backing we’ve received by Governor DeWine and the state legislature, without it we would not be as successful as we have been with these wetland projects.”
Governor DeWine created H2Ohio in 2019 as a comprehensive, data-driven approach to combatting algal blooms, enhancing water quality, and improving water infrastructure over the long term. H2Ohio was launched with support from the Ohio General Assembly, which invested in the program in Ohio’s two most recent operating budgets. H2Ohio operates in partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The initiative focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring and enhancing wetlands, upgrading outdated water infrastructure, and replacing lead pipes. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov.