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EPA provides $550,000 to Lorain County, Ohio, for water quality projects

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Allison Nowotarski (

CHICAGO – (October 10, 2017) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced an award of $550,000 to the Lorain County Board of Commissioners for projects that will improve water quality in the Black River Area of Concern on Lake Erie. The Black River AOC is on the binational list of toxic hotspots that have been targeted for cleanup under the U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The funding is a supplemental award to an existing grant of $600,000, increasing the total amount to just over $1 million.

“As Administrator, I’m committed to improving environmental conditions and human health for the 30 million Americans who live and work in the Great Lakes region,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA is working closely with state and local partners to advance our shared goal to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

“This grant award continues the County’s and its partners’ commitment to manage its resources and improve the environment culminating in the goal of having our river no longer be listed as an AOC. The Black River’s improved water quality has it online to complete all management actions in 2019,” said Lori Kokoski, Lorain County Board President. “The river has hosted a national and regional fishing tournaments and has numerous recognized birding and habitat areas within its watershed. These all combine to grow our travel and tourism industry while improving our residents’ economic opportunities, recreational choices and environmental stewardship.”

The Lorain County Board of Commissioners will use this additional funding to restore two critical areas of degradation and impairment in the Willow Creek watershed, which flows to the Black River. Funding will also support work to restore an additional 800 feet of Fortune Ditch, a major tributary of Willow Creek. Additionally, 1.5 acres of riparian wetland habitat will be restored at the Margaret Peak Nature Preserve, a former family farm in Eaton Township donated to the township 12 years ago by its late namesake. The nature preserve is home to 170 species of birds, two ponds, five acres of wetlands and 10 acres of forest.

To date, Lorain County, in partnership with Eaton Township, has used the original funding to restore approximately 800 feet of Willow Creek and plant hundreds of live stakes and wetland plants around and along Fortune Ditch. At the nature preserve, approximately 21 acres of active agricultural field will be revegetated with native grasses and wildflowers. Overall, funding is expected to establish 1,400 continuous feet of high quality stream and riparian habitat within the preserve.

Since 2010, GLRI funding totaling $23.5 million – including $16 million from EPA - has funded 20 projects to remediate and restore the Black River AOC. The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. EPA has funded more than 900 projects to address GLRI’s highest priorities: cleaning up highly-contaminated ‘Areas of Concern’; reducing nutrient runoff; combating invasive species, and restoring habitat.

For more information about the Black River Area of Concern, visit: