Lake Erie Commission Approves Grant Proposals
By Elizabeth Miller
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission voted Wednesday to award over $150,000 to projects aimed at repurposing material dredged out of the lake and evaluating nutrient runoff levels from agriculture.
The interest in repurposing dredged material is not new. But when Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 1 last year, he set a deadline – by 2020, for there to be no more open-lake dumping of dredged material into the Lake Erie.
During their quarterly meeting, the commission, approved 3 proposals on how to use the dredged material: from Kent State, the Port of Cleveland, and the Port of Toledo. Kent State’s application involves developing lightweight material to use in constructing roofs and creating a plan to sell it to businesses.
At a Great Lakes Symposium earlier this month, Commission Chair and Ohio EPA director Craig Butler said there are plenty of uses for dredged material, no matter what part of the state it comes from.
“Certainly the dredged material across the watershed differs – some of its silty, more soil-like. Some of its sandy," said Butler. "There’s lots of uses for this material."
The grants are funded through private donations to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and sales of a Lake Erie-themed license plate. The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is made up of Lake Erie stakeholders and makes policy decision around the Lake.