Grants help with multiple water-related projects

Grants help with multiple water-related projects

Image Credit: Teri Stein

Every county within the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District has benefited from a program launched in 2009. The Partners in Watershed Management program supports the work of local communities, agencies and groups involved in conservation programs, water-quality issues and flood-mitigation projects throughout the 8,000-square-mile Muskingum River Watershed.

Two recently approved projects in Tuscarawas County are important for conservation purposes.

The Dreher project will acquire a 56.54-acre parcel located along the east bank of the Tuscarawas River in Goshen Township, Tuscarawas County. The property contains abandoned strip mine areas currently leaching acid mine drainage directly into the Tuscarawas River. This project will acquire and permanently conserve land directly adjacent to the Tuscarawas River along the riparian corridor.

The total project cost is $374,600. The PWM will contribute $93,650 contingent on the successful receipt of other anticipated funding. In addition, abatement of acid mine drainage is planned in the future in partnership with ODNR.

The Zoar Goose Run project will acquire and preserve approximately 4 acres of real estate that includes a portion of Goose Run. It borders Fourth Street extension on the north, East Street and Historic Zoar Village on the west, and Lime Kiln Lake on the east.

The purpose of the project is to conserve the land, improve the forest resources, add a natural walking path to allow access to historic Zoar structures at Lime Kiln Lake, and ensure this part of the watershed of Goose Run remains undeveloped and contributes to water management and water quality at the Zoar Levee project and in the Muskingum River Watershed.

The project, proposed by the Zoar Community Association, will help to minimize the risk of future flooding in the village. Additional hiking trails are planned including a North Country trail connection. The project cost is $54,000 with the PWM contributing $47,000.

The Village of Zoar also supports keeping this area in a natural state to provide for future history and environmental opportunities, maximize the natural ground water recharge, and safeguard future deterioration of the water quality in Goose Run.

Another Tuscarawas County project, the Village of Baltic stream bank stabilization proposed by the Tuscarawas SWCD, is still under further consideration.

“Projects under further consideration typically require additional follow-up or information as part of MWCD’s review process. In some cases an applicant is awaiting a decision from another funding source which may alter their MWCD PWM grant request,” said Adria Bergeron, director of marketing and communications for the MWCD.

To date, 183 projects have been awarded PWM grants ranging in amounts from $1,000 to more than $500,000.

“Examples of projects funded range from property acquisitions for the purpose of protecting and conserving property such as the Dreher and Zoar Goose Run projects, to innovative stormwater/water-quality projects such as the new Dover High School’s underground stormwater capture and infiltration system, to flood-warning systems for the City of Marietta and others,” Bergeron said.

The MWCD’s PWM grant dollars in many cases serve to bolster other sources of funding for these sorts of projects, like grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission Clean Ohio Funds, Ohio EPA Section 319 Clean Water Act Non-Point Source Assistance funds and numerous other federal grant funds.

Those eligible to apply for PWM funding are political subdivisions of the state, federal agencies, and IRS Section 501(c) nonprofit organizations with a mission related to conservation, water quality or flood mitigation within the Muskingum River Watershed.

“Since its inception in 2009, over $12 million in PWM grant dollars have gone back to the communities in the Muskingum River Watershed,” Bergeron said. “Every county within MWCD’s jurisdictional area has received grant awards.”

There were 20 applications totaling over $2.5 million for funding assistance received in the 2022-23 grant cycle.

“We again are pleased to invest our resources in these very important projects across the district that match with our growing emphasis on conservation,” said Craig Butler, MWCD executive director. “These projects help to prevent costly flooding, minimize soil erosion and nutrient loss from agricultural operations, assist with upgrading essential community services, and preserve and rehabilitate sensitive lands for public use.”

The grant program is highly competitive with a multi-step review process to ensure the best projects receive grant dollars. All applications are reviewed by MWCD staff and a select group of volunteer industry experts in the fields of dam safety/flood control, floodplain management, green best management practices and watershed management/water quality, prior to the chief engineer and chief of conservation recommending applications for approval to the executive director and the board of directors.

Applications for the next grant award cycle are due to MWCD by close of business on Sept. 1, 2023. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact MWCD to discuss their projects at least 30 days prior to the application deadline to learn more about the application process and have their applications preliminarily screened for eligibility.

Call Lynn Gilland, administrative specialist, at 330-556-4817 or email lgilland@mwcd.org.

The 2022-23 PWM grant recipients are listed below with applicant name, county, project title, project cost, and the last figure representing the amount requested and amount recommended, which was the same on all approved projects:

—Ashland SWCD, Ashland County, cover crop crimper roller, $31,910, $28,910.

—Muskingum County Engineer, Muskingum County, Wills Creek Road culvert replacement, $300,000, $250,000.

—Nobles Pond Drainage District*, Stark County, Nobles Pond drainage project, $462,501, $213,341.

—Northern Tuscarawas Land Trust*, Tuscarawas County, Dreher property acquisition, $374,600, $93,650.

—Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute, Wayne County, drainage water management tools, $150,430, $73,100.

—Plain Township Board of Trustees*, Stark County, Monarch Meadows Preserve, $564,500, $141,125.

—Village of McConnelsville, Morgan County, McConnel Run Watershed flood control, $131,151, $75,813.

—Washington County commissioners/MCC, Washington County, county home creek-restoration project, $66,000, $60,000.

—Western Reserve Land Conservancy*, Stark County, Dorn Forest Preserve, $746,911, $154,000.

—Zoar Community Association, Tuscarawas County, Zoar Goose Run conservation project, $54,000, $47,000.

*PWM award recommendation contingent upon successful receipt of other anticipated sources of grant funding.

The grant totals are $1,136,940.

The applications under further consideration are listed as applicant, county, project name, total of project and amount requested:

—Ashland Cemetery Association, Ashland County, Ashland Cemetery stream bank stabilization, $263,200, $262,000 requested.

—City of Barberton, Summit County, South Barberton flood mitigation, $345,925, $263,035 requested.

—City of Marietta, Washington County, City of Marietta stream bank stabilization, $110,000, $110,000 requested.

—Richland SWCD, Richland County, Black Fork log jam removal, $124,132, $120,000 requested.

—Stillwater Watershed Partners, Harrison County and Belmont County, Stillwater H&H Analysis, $200,000, $100,000 requested.

—Tuscarawas SWCD, Tuscarawas County, Village of Baltic stream bank stabilization, $110,120, $109,080 requested.

—Village of McConnelsville, Morgan County, floodplain property acquisition, $92,700, $92,700 requested.

Visit www.mwcd.org and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.