The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has awarded $6,839,113 to Ohio State University to establish a pilot watershed project in the larger Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) to test water quality management strategies with the goal of reducing phosphorus concentrations in local water bodies.
USDA is also awarding $2,178,500 to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, which will work to reforest abandoned mine lands in Appalachian regions of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky. By leveraging private capital and carbon market revenues, this initiative will plant over 2.5 million trees to help the local ecosystems and benefit wildlife, such as the golden-winged warbler and American woodcock.
“This is great news for Ohio – from reforesting the Appalachia region to reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The Great Lakes provide clean, affordable drinking water to 40 million people, and we need to continue to take aggressive action to reduce runoff into our lake,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown. “I also support the initiative to plant thousands of trees on abandoned mineland across Southern Ohio. This will help restore the land while supporting the local ecosystem.”
Brown helped to establish the RCPP in the 2014 Farm Bill which created voluntary partnerships between agricultural and conservation groups aimed at helping farmers improve soil health, protect water quality, and restore wildlife habitats. This program has resulted in numerous innovative conservation practices that are reducing runoff into Lake Erie. Brown has worked to secure important wins for Lake Erie through legislation and by speaking out against harmful proposals that threaten the health of Lake Erie.
Brown and Sen., Rob Portman secured $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in the 2020 appropriations package. Brown and Portman worked together to ensure GLRI was not only reinstated but also fully funded after proposals to eliminate the program in 2018.