by Marc Grossman, Ohio Environmental Council
Over fifty people braved treacherous roads and dedicated an entire weekend to attend the Ohio Environmental Council/River Network Clean Water Act: Activist Training workshop in Columbus, Ohio this past January. Conference participants received a broad based overview of the tools offered by the Clean Water Act. Jeff Skelding, Water Policy Manager for the OEC and Gayle Killam of River Network, a national river protection organization, led the workshop.
Workshop participants included members of Ohio’s environmental and conservation community. These included County Commissioners, river protection groups, watershed activists, watershed coordinators, Soil and Water Conservation District representatives, and staff from both Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
One highlight of the workshop featured a presentation by Mike Utt, watershed coordinator for the upper Scioto River just north of Columbus and a fishing enthusiast who has taken his passion for small mouth bass to the Ohio statehouse. Mike Utt hopes the small mouth bass, Ohio’s newest state symbol, will be used as a teaching tool for clean water and healthy aquatic habitats. Ohio House Bill 19 recognizes the small mouth bass as Ohio’s official state fish and a symbol of clean water.
The three day workshop focused on biological criteria as a method to measure water quality, Ohio’s antidegradation regulation, an overview of point source pollution controls and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 and 401 stream and wetland protection measures, and strategies to meet Clean Water Act watershed restoration requirements known as Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
Participants came out of the conference with “a sense of renewed vigor” and armed with new knowledge of Clean Water Act tools to assist them in achieving their goals of clean water and healthy streams, rivers and lakes.
For more information, contact:
1207 Grandview Ave. Ste. 201
Columbus, OH 43212