After a spring season uniquely characterized by intense rain and flooding events, rural and coastal communities across the state are struggling with high or standing water problems. In response, several state government agencies have implemented large cleanup and remediation efforts. State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) is encouraging local residents to apply for funding under any of the following programs:
—Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has re-opened the application period for the state’s Ag-LINK extreme weather relief program. Through the program, farm operators can receive a 2 percent interest rate reduction on loans of up to $150,000 for remediation projects. Apply at http://www.tos.ohio.gov/Ag-LINK-Extreme-Weather-Relief
—The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides Temporary Shore Structure Permits for coastal property owners to protect their properties from catastrophic erosion. The permits allow coastal property owners to install emergency shore protection to protect their property from additional erosion-related damage. Permits are free of charge and are typically issued within a week.
—ODNR Coastal Engineers provide free on-site technical assistance to property owners along Lake Erie, including recommendations for erosion mitigation and best management practices to prevent or slow coastal erosion. Call the ODNR Office of Coastal Management at (419) 626-7980 for more information.
—Coastal Management Assistance Grants are competitive awards for coastal planning, habitat restoration, public access, research, and water quality improvement projects. Local governments, county and regional planning agencies, universities, school districts, conservancy districts, port authorities and certain non-profit groups are eligible to apply at http://coastal.ohiodnr.gov/cmagrants
“While I am grateful these temporary funds are available, there is still much work to be done to ensure Ohioans are protected from such extreme weather, like excessive flooding,” said Sheehy. “I’m concerned with the frequency of these extreme weather events in recent years. Between devastating algal blooms and rapidly rising water levels, Ohioans living along the lake will be among the first victims of the global climate crisis. We must do more in our own communities to curb air and water pollution from corporate factories and mega-farms.”
Federal cost-sharing funds and technical assistance are also available for agricultural conservation projects through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Lucas County farmers should contact the Wauseon NRCS Service Center at (419) 337-9217.