Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control – DeWine, Kaptur hail water quality improvement projects

Local efforts to improve water quality in the Lake Erie watershed and the rest of the Great Lakes basin recently received a bipartisan endorsement from leading members of Ohio’s congressional delegation.

Sen. Mike DeWine (R) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-9th) saluted work done under the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, which supports local efforts to improve water quality. DeWine made particular notice of measures to stabilize over a quarter mile of severely eroding stream bank along West Creek near Parma, in suburban Cleveland, while Kaptur singled out efforts to control runoff along county and township roads in Erie County.

The two projects are among nine sediment and erosion control projects funded this year in northern Ohio under the program, and 44 throughout the entire Great Lakes basin. Along with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. DeWine and Rep. Kaptur have been among the Basin Program’s staunchest supporters in Congress, DeWine as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and co-chair (with Sen. Levin) of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Kaptur as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

“This is good news for Parma, northeast Ohio and Lake Erie,” said Sen. DeWine. “Soil erosion and sedimentation severely degrade our water supply and pollute the Great Lakes. I am proud to have helped secure federal funds that will be used to fight these destructive forces so that we can preserve and protect our natural resources for future generations.”

“Lake Erie is our crown jewel and this program to reduce erosion can help lower sedimentation levels and protect the lake for future generations,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Erie County has also been the victim of recent flooding and such efforts as these take a step forward in the hazard mitigation that is needed to handle rising levels of excess storm water runoff causing millions of dollars of damage.”

Since its inception in 1991, the Great Lakes Basin Program has supported nearly 400 local projects throughout the Great Lakes basin aimed at controlling erosion and sedimentation, providing nearly $12 million in federal funds and attracting another $5 million in matching grants. These efforts have kept an estimated 1.1 million tons of soil “on the land” and 5.5 million lbs. of phosphorous and 1.8 million pounds of nitrogen out of the Great Lakes and their tributaries, while placing more than 120,000 acres of land under various forms of permanent protection.

The program is managed by the Great Lakes Commission, a compact organization representing the Great Lakes states, with Ontario and Québec as associate members.

“Sediment is by far the largest pollutant, by volume, of our waters in the Lake Erie watershed and the rest of the Great Lakes basin, said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. “It clogs our rivers and streams, smothers aquatic habitats, and makes it hard for fish and other aquatic creatures to breathe and find food. It also carries with it other pollutants washed off the land, including pesticides, fertilizers and others.”

“This project is an excellent example of the direct, hands-on initiatives being undertaken through the Great Lakes Basin Program to protect, restore and improve water quality in our region,” he added.

Details of the West Creek and Erie County Rural Roadside projects, as well of the other 42 projects funded in 2006 under the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, are available at here. Other information, including details on all active projects, is available on the Basin Program web site at www.glc.org/basin.

For immediate release: November 3, 2006
Contact: Gary Overmier, garyo@glc.org, office: 734-971-9135

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. John Cherry (Mich.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formalObserver program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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