Grant awarded to clean Maumee River
Written by The Advertiser-Tribune   
Saturday, 17 February 2007 10:33

The Joyce Foundation of Chicago is granting $5 million to organizations to help clean up the Maumee River and three of its tributaries — ultimately to help reduce pollution in Lake Erie.

The Maumee River is 130 miles long, flowing from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Toledo through northwest Ohio. The watershed contains more than 8,300 square miles in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

Also included in the grant is money for projects on the St. Joseph, Tiffin and Blanchard rivers.

During the Monday announcement, Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding said the group hopes the investment in helping the Maumee River recover will lay the groundwork for long-term restoration of Lake Erie.

She said the projects will establish a model that can be adopted elsewhere in the Great Lakes for recovery efforts.

More than $2 million was awarded to Environmental Defense to work with state and federal agencies to promote agricultural conservation incentives such as planting trees, restoring wetlands, improving nutrient and sediment management and restoring wildlife habitat.

Another $1.7 million is going to The Nature Conservancy to encourage Indiana farmers to test an improved design for drainage ditches that, in initial tests, dramatically reduced sediment and improved water quality entering local streams.

The Nature Conservancy also is to restore wetlands in the Oak Openings region of Lucas County to reduce runoff from suburban developments. The organizations is seeking to encourage landowners to voluntarily protect and restore natural land cover on their properties as part of the “Green Ribbon Initiative” and to restore wetland and riparian habitats in the area.

The American Rivers‚ Healthy Waters Campaign is getting $600,000 to work with local government and residents in Toledo to capture and filter storm water in gardens, rain barrels, wetlands and other forms of “green infrastructure.” The projects are to be designed to keep rainwater out of the sewer system and reduce sewage overflows into the river and Lake Erie.

Maumee Remedial Action Plan — Maumee RAP — is being awarded $588,000.

The collaboration of private and public partners in the metro-Toledo area are to use the money to test strategies for reversing ecological damage from obsolete dams, along with completing two risk assessments and creating inventory and restoration plans for two watersheds.

All of the programs are designed as three-year projects and potentially could leverage millions of additional local, state and federal dollars.
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