Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Details on Watershed Support

For the past six years, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Extension have offered a Statewide Water Quality Grant to provide a major portion of Watershed Coordinators' salaries. The Sunday Creek and Monday Creek Watershed Coordinators have both been funded through that grant. That grant will be ending this year or next year for most watersheds. Beginning in October 2006, the state of Ohio is offering a three-year grant to support a watershed coordinator's salary, fringe benefits and to provide limited ancillary support.

The grant application, due on May 26, requires a cash contribution commitment by local sponsors of at least 20 percent of the grant request for each of the three years. However, most of counties in southeast Ohio (including Athens, Hocking, Morgan, Perry and Carroll) are designated as “Distressed Counties.” The minimum cash contribution by sponsors for watersheds within these counties has been reduced to ten percent of the grant requested, with the remaining ten percent obtainable through in-kind support (such as volunteer activities). The larger the local commitment, the more competitive the grant with other watersheds throughout the state. To continue the outstanding progress toward restoration of southeast Ohio, the watershed coordinators for Federal Valley, Monday Creek and Sunday Creek are seeking three-year funding commitments from local stakeholders.