Posted October 15, 2018
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission has awarded two Lake Erie Protection Fund Grants of $50,000 each, which are geared toward the beneficial use of dredged material.
The following grants have been awarded:
• Megan Rua at Wright State University for “Improving soil health to increase plant production and quality on dredged material.” Rua will study whether cover crops will improve beneficial microorganisms and reduce contaminants in dredge.
• Angélica Vásquez-Ortega at Bowling Green State University for “Dredged material benefits for crop production and environmental implications.” Vásquez-Ortega will evaluate corn yield, metal uptake, and metal and nutrient runoff, using various proportions of a dredge/soil mix.
Vásquez-Ortega is an assistant Professor at the School of Earth, Environment and Society, Bowling Green State University. She obtained her Ph.D., in Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences specializing in Geochemistry from the University of Arizona according to BGSU.
In May 2018, the Commission issued a request for proposal to study and inform agricultural uses of Toledo Harbor dredged material, with preference to projects that:
• utilize the Center of Dredge Innovation located in Toledo;
• target crops typically grown in NW Ohio; and
• engage area farmers.
Projects were ranked by OLEC’s Dredge Research and Innovation in Farming Team (DRIFT). This committee was created to advise OLEC on the benefits, appropriateness and effective methods of applying dredged material to farmland in Northwest Ohio. This committee recommended the grant recipients to the Commission.
More discussion behind the beneficial use of dredged material will be presented at the 2018 Ohio Dredged Material Summit on Oct. 15, 2018, at the Lorain County Community College. More info on the Summit can be found at epa.ohio.gov.
OLEC was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development Services, Agriculture, Natural Resources and five additional members appointed by Governor John Kasich.