(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz announced today that $3 million in grants are available for projects that will improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin through the creation or restoration of wetlands.
ODNR is administering the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program as part of Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative. Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from the water before they flow into waterways and contribute to harmful algal blooms.
“Ohio has a great abundance of water, making our state a prime location for economic development, so we must ensure that this important resource stays clean,” said Governor DeWine. “Similar to H2Ohio’s work in the Lake Erie Basin, H2Ohio projects in the Ohio River Basin will contribute toward naturally improving water quality throughout the rest of the state.”
“We have made water quality a passion and a priority at ODNR,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Spreading the opportunity to contribute to this issue facing Ohio and build even more wetlands will only strengthen our efforts to ensure clean water for families all across our great state.”
The Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program is funded as part of Ohio’s 2022-2023 operating budget, which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year. This is the second round of funding available through the grant program, with $5 million awarded for 10 wetland projects in 2021, including the Hellbranch Meadows West Wetland Restoration Project in Franklin County.
“This grant program has provided an amazing opportunity for soil and water conservation districts and others to both improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat,” said Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District Assistant Director Kyle Wilson. “Programs such as this are an investment in the future of our state and will provide ecosystems services for generations to come.”
Right now, there are more than 80 H2Ohio wetland projects underway or complete throughout the state. You can find a list of ODNR’s H2Ohio wetland projects at h2.ohio.gov.
H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring, and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov.
The Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that provides up to 100 percent project funding for high-quality, wetlands-focused projects to address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement. Applicants are encouraged to submit project proposals in the scope of approximately $50,000 to $500,000 for H2Ohio funding consideration.
Program priorities and criteria for grant applicants can be found on ODNR’s website. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2022. Each application will be thoroughly reviewed before grants are awarded this spring.
ODNR will host a webinar to talk about the H2Ohio program, the Ohio River Basin grant requirements, and answer any questions regarding the application process. The Microsoft Teams event will be held from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. on February 28, 2022. To RSVP to this event, email H2Ohio Assistant Program Manager Rachel DeNoewer.