(TOLEDO, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) today announced a $5 million grant program for a new H2Ohio Best Management Practice (BMP) – the Two-Stage Ditch. A two-stage ditch is a conservation practice that modifies the shape of a drainage ditch to create vegetation benches on each side. The vegetative benches slow water flow and reduce downstream nutrient runoff.
“Clean water for all Ohioans is a top priority,” said Governor DeWine. “I am pleased that H2Ohio continues to implement new solutions to improve water quality.”
The two-stage ditch becomes the eighth BMP that ODA has offered in the H2Ohio program. H2Ohio incentivizes producers to implement proven conservation practices to reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality.
“We are very excited to expand the H2Ohio program with an additional best management practice,” said ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda. “We always strive to evolve with H2Ohio, looking at science to offer the best practices to reduce nutrient runoff.”
The Two-Stage Ditch Grant Program is available in the 24 counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), and county engineers are eligible to apply for up to full reimbursement of the two-stage ditch construction.
“Two stage ditches are an important technology that reestablishes the natural floodplain area, which lowers flood risk and increases water quality,” said Lucas County Engineer Mike Pniewski. “H2Ohio’s investment will improve the quality of life for those in the Maumee River Watershed.”
Applications for the grant program will be mailed directly to SWCDs and county engineer offices and must be completed and submitted by November 30, 2022.
H2Ohio is Governor 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. It is a collaboration between ODA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, visit h2.ohio.gov.