In Blanchester, Senator Portman Meets with Clermont Soil & Water Conservation Leadership, Tours Nutrient Reduction Project on Tributary to Harsha Lake

August 18, 2021 | Press Releases

BLANCHESTER, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) met with leadership from Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to see a nutrient reduction project on a tributary to Harsha Lake.

The Clermont SWCD received $54,843 in funding through a U.S. Department of Agriculture – National Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant to implement an innovative practice to address nutrient loadings from farm runoff. The project is located in a small subwatershed that is tributary to Harsha Lake, which has experienced problems with harmful algal blooms since 2010. 

Portman, the lead Republican negotiator of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that recently passed the U.S. Senate, also highlighted how the infrastructure bill can help communities across Ohio combat algal blooms. The bill authorizes $1.2 billion over five years for Ohio through the Clean Water State and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which can be used for storm water and waste water improvement projects to reduce overflow events. The bill also includes $60 million for the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico hypoxia task force.

“I had a productive meeting today with members of the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District as we discussed their efforts to reduce nutrient runoff into Harsha Lake to help combat harmful algal blooms,” said Portman. “I’m pleased to see these federal grant dollars in action, and I will continue to work to preserve our state’s natural resources from harmful algal blooms.”

“In order to control the harmful algal blooms at East Fork Lake, help is needed from many different partners. Clermont SWCD is grateful for Senator Portman’s work in securing funds to help us combat this problem,” said John McCanus, Clermont SWCD Administrator. “We’re also thankful for the assistance we’ve received from NRCS, U.S. EPA and all other members of our East Fork Watershed Cooperative, and for farmers who have installed practices to reduce nutrient runoff from their fields.”

Portman has been a leader in the Senate to address the threat of harmful algal blooms. In 2019, former President Trump signed into law Portman’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, which was first enacted in 1998. Portman introduced the legislation in 2017 with Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Gary Peters (D-MI).  For almost two decades this program has served as the federal government’s research and response framework for harmful algal blooms.  Senator Portman first worked with Senator Nelson to reauthorize this program in 2014 and included, for the first time, freshwater bodies such as the Great Lakes into this program.

Photos from the event are below: