The US Environmental Protection Agency has designated 4 Ohio rivers as “Areas of Concern” – and Lorain County’s Black River is one of them. This week, the EPA awarded more than half a million dollars to Lorain for Black River restoration projects.
One local group contributing to clean-up efforts is the “Loco ‘Yaks”. Since co-founding the “Loco Yaks” 5 years ago, Stephanee Moore Koscho has hosted annual Black River clean-ups. She says she’s seen a difference in the amount of plastic bottles and other debris she cleans up year after year.
Moore-Koscho is one of the many people working to take the Black River off of the U-S E-P-A’s Area of Concern list. These are rivers that might have deformed fish, or lots of algae, or a loss of wildlife habitat. In the last 2 years, the EPA has noted improvements in the Black River – fish there have fewer tumors now, and the undesired algae has been taken care of.
The money, officially awarded to the Lorain County Board of Commissioners, will fund projects including enhanced wetlands and stream restoration.
The Loco ‘Yaks are working on other projects too – spray-painting local storm drains with a “Lake Erie Starts Here” message and speaking to schools and youth groups about marine debris prevention.
Since 2010, GLRI has provided $23.5 million to Black River restoration projects.