State Approves $10M to Help Protect Lake Erie

TOLEDO, Ohio – With nearly $10 million in funding approved by the State Controlling Board, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will begin projects aimed at keeping dredged material out of Lake Erie.

The projects in Toledo, Lorain and Conneaut are part of the state’s Healthy Lake Erie Fund program and will be managed by local officials and sponsors.

“Lake Erie is Ohio’s greatest natural resource and ensuring its health is vital for the continued success of the communities, businesses and families that depend on it,” said ODNR Director Jim Zehringer in a news release. “These projects represent a shared commitment between federal, state and local partners in helping to protect this great lake for generations.”

Aside from improving water quality and easing navigation in the cities’ ports, the programs will also benefit brownfield sites, construction and habitat-restoration projects.

In Toledo, the funds will help the city reuse up to 1 million cubic feet, while $4 million will go to the city of Lorain for the bi-annual disposal of sediment from the Black River, Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said.

“The coordinated efforts to handle dredged materials differently will not only improve the water quality of Lake Erie, but also provides opportunities for the reuse of uncontaminated dredged materials into marketable products,” he said. “The City of Lorain thanks the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for this grant to fund the design and construction of the Black River Dredge Reuse Facility.”

As part of the Healthy Lake Erie Fund, the ODNR and Ohio EPA are working “to promote the beneficial use of dredge material and meet the July 1, 2020, ban on open-lake disposal of dredge material into Lake Erie.” Elsewhere in the state, the agencies are supporting projects in federal navigation channels in Sandusky Bay to reuse material in water wetland and fish habitats.

Pictured: The port of Lorain, Ohio, where the Black River enters Lake Erie.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.