Several states, including a few in the Great Lakes region, have received a sizable chunk of money from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The funding is to increase protections in watershed areas.
In western New York, the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper received $300,000 for its “circuit rider” program. Staffers will travel to communities throughout the region and advise them in managing their watersheds.
They’re looking at undeveloped land, wetland systems, forest systems and area parks. Waterkeeper officials say that amounts to more than 400,000 acres across the region.
The goal is to promote clean drinking water by protecting “source water,” the waters upstream.
“What folks sometimes don’t recognize is the entire landscape is source water," said Waterkeeper executive director Jill Jedlicka. "This is where our groundwater bubbles up from the stream in our headwater forests. This is where our storm water flows. So, we have to look at the entire region as having an impact on water quality.”
Ohio was among the other states that received funding through the grant program. A group there was awarded $200,000 over three years to help protect the Chagrin River watershed.
Michigan groups are getting funding as well. Over the next four years, Huron Pines will receive $180,000 to help protect up to 10,000 acres of watershed and reconnect trout streams.
The Huron River Watershed Council will receive $180,000 over the next three years to protect the watershed through working with local government on clean water issues.