2015 Watershed Mini Grant Winners announced

October 15, 2015

On Thursday, Oct. 15, Dominion East Ohio and Western Reserve Land Conservancy awarded $35,000 in grant funding to fifteen Ohio watershed groups for general operating, marketing and specific project costs.

Through the support of Dominion, Western Reserve Land Conservancy launched the Watershed Mini Grant Program this year to serve organizations working to protect and improve land around rivers, lakes and streams throughout Ohio. The Ohio program is patterned after a similar Dominion-backed grant initiative in Pennsylvania.

“Dominion is proud to partner with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the inaugural Watershed Mini Grants Program,” said Jeff Murphy, vice president for Dominion East Ohio. “Funding meaningful projects that encourage the understanding, appreciation and preservation of our environment is a key focus for us. Congratulations to all of the award winning watershed organizations across Ohio.”

Two organizations were recognized with Spotlight Awards and grants of $5,000 in support of larger water quality or restoration projects. Chagrin River Watershed Partners (Willoughby, OH) received an award for enhancing riparian vegetation along restored streams in the Chagrin River Watershed. Cuyahoga River Restoration (Cleveland, OH) received a grant for their project, Habitat for Hard Places.

The following organizations received grant awards for general operating, marketing and outreach, as well as project-specific costs:

• Bluestone Heights (Euclid, OH): $2,000 for the Green Creek Ravine Ecological Survey
• Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow (Hebron, OH): $1,500 for community involvement and outreach
Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (Mantua, OH): $2,000 for Headwaters Trail Kiosk Signs
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (Columbus, OH): $2,500 for their Olentangy Tree Campaign
Friends of Scioto Brush Creek (Scioto, OH): $1,500 for watershed resident awareness
• Grand Lake/ Wabash Watershed Alliance (Celina, OH): $1,500 for their community outreach project, Supporting the Shadow People
Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership (Mineral City, OH): $2,500 for watershed education and capacity as part of Restoring Appalachian Waterways
• Little Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Advisory Council (Salem, OH): $2,500 for the Little Beaver Creek Stream Clean Up
Mill Creek Watershed Partnership (Cleveland, OH): $1,000 for their project, Bacci Park Stream Bank Revitalization
• Rocky River Watershed Council (Valley View, OH): $2,500 for their project, Mill Stream Park Riparian Buffer
Rural Action (Trimble, OH): $2,500 for Sunday Creek Watershed outreach and general operating support for Monday Creek projects
• Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners (Twinsburg, OH): $1,500 for website reconfiguration
• Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership (Delaware, OH): $1,500 for watershed outreach

Healthy watersheds benefit people, animals and plants. Water quality can be affected by many things – human and non-human – but habitat degradation and nonpoint source pollution are two of the biggest continuing problems. The quality of our water is affected by alterations to the land – mining, roadways, agriculture, urban development, deforestation and the everyday activities of the people within the watershed.

“Ohio’s watershed groups provide an important service to the larger community by recognizing potential threats, devising plans, taking corrective actions and educating the public,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy. “Many of these groups work with a skeleton staff on very limited budgets. We hope we can fill some of this void. We are extremely grateful to Dominion for partnering with us on this project.”

Cochran said the Land Conservancy’s goal is to build long-lasting relationships with watershed groups.