(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz announced today that $3 million in H2Ohio grant funding will be directed to nine wetland projects to help improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin.
Awards will go to projects in Athens, Butler, Clark, Delaware, Franklin, Mahoning, Montgomery, Pickaway, and Wayne counties to create wetlands, restore wetlands on hydric soils, and/or enhance water quality at existing wetlands and floodplains.
“By expanding the reach of H2Ohio, we are working not only toward water quality, but also to a better quality of life for all Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine. “Water issues exist everywhere, and these new projects will ensure more communities get the opportunity to experience the benefits these wetlands provide for water quality, wildlife, and recreational purposes.”
This is the second round of H2Ohio grants focused exclusively on the Ohio River Basin. In round one, ten wetland projects were awarded a total of $4.3 million to address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement in the Ohio River and its tributaries.
“It’s exciting to share the nature-based approach to water quality we have been implementing in the northern part of the state with even more communities,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “It has always been our goal to extend the H2Ohio initiative across the entire state, and we are glad to be able to support these new projects in the Ohio River Basin.”
Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, like phosphorus, from the water before they flow into waterways and contribute to harmful algal blooms. Right now, there are more than 80 H2Ohio wetland projects underway.
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 and signed by Governor DeWine.
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.