Leveraging Ohio s Clean Water SRF Program to Fund Stream and Wetland Restoration and Protection Projects

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1 Leveraging Ohio s Clean Water SRF Program to Fund Stream and Wetland Restoration and Protection Projects Association of State Wetland Managers 2014 State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Meeting Shepherdstown, West Virginia March 6, 2014 Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance 1

2 or How Ohio EPA Generated $162 Million to Fund Stream and Wetland Restoration and Protection Projects March 6,

3 National water quality objective, as contained in the Federal Clean Water Act: to restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation s waters March 6,

4 NPDES permits TMDLs Stormwater permitting 208 Areawide Planning 319 Grants Sections 404 and 401 Clean Water SRF programs CWA Toolbox Fishable/Swimmable March 6,

5 Title VI of the 1987 CWA replaced federal Construction Grants with an innovative Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program Each state and Puerto Rico administer a State Revolving Fund (SRF)program March 6,

6 In Ohio, the State Revolving Fund program is called the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF). Since the first WPCLF loan in Oct. 1989, the WPCLF program has awarded approximately 3,000 loans totaling over $6 Billion. Focus on traditional wastewater infrastructure projects March 6,

7 Annual Federal Capitalization Grants State Matching Funds Bond Sales (Leveraging) Disbursements Repayments P&I (20 yr. loan) Water Quality Improvement Projects March 6,

8 City of Columbus Southerly WWTP March 6,

9 Water Quality Infrastructure also includes: Confluence of Blacklick and Big Walnut Creeks March 6,

10 March 6,

11 DEFA realized in the early 1990s that the WPCLF needed to incentivize habitat improvement projects to assist in the attainment of Water Quality Standards in Ohio. DEFA offered direct loans for habitat restoration and protection projects, but our experience revealed a basic problem.. March 6,

12 This generates revenue thru P&I payments This doesn t March 6,

13 March 6,

14 Solution: Sponsorship Allow an applicant to sponsor a stream or wetland restoration/protection project through a traditional WPCLF project One WPCLF Project March 6,

15 The goal of the WRRSP is to counter the loss of ecological function and biological diversity that jeopardize the health of Ohio's water resources. Created in 2000 The WRRSP is a habitat based program Projects are nominated and competitively scored March 6,

16 Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) A borrower agrees to be responsible for implementing a project that will restore or protect the aquatic life uses of a water body. The WPCLF fully funds the sponsored project by advancing a portion of the interest the borrower will pay on its SRF loan. March 6,

17 Federal Capitalization Grants State Matching Funds Bond Sales (Leveraging) Advance portion of interest payment to WRRSP Disbursements Repayments P&I (20 yr. loan) WRRSP Project Water Quality Improvement Projects March 6,

18 Project Nomination/Ranking Scoring PMP Fundable Projects List 2 year cycle Year 1 Planning Activities Year 2 Loan Award and Implementation Post-Implementation Monitoring March 6,

19 March 6,

20 Project Nomination/Scoring/Ranking Stage Pre-nomination site evaluation Nominations due to Ohio EPA July 31 of each year Scoring/ranking August thru September List fundable WRRSP projects in the Program Management Plan issued in early January March 6,

21 Project Scoring based on three criteria 1. Importance of Resource (IR) 2. Restoration Potential (RP) 3. Effectiveness of Action (EA) Projects then ranked and listed on the annual program management plan (PMP) March 6,

22 Year One Activities Develop restoration/protection plans Identify all encumbrances, easements, mineral rights Obtain appraisals that represent fair market value Develop long term management plans Develop implementation schedule Identify sponsor- enter sponsorship agreement March 6,

23 Year Two Activities Sponsoring WPCLF loan awarded could be any month If sponsoring loan is awarded early in Year 2, begin implementation in Year 2 If sponsoring loan is awarded late in Year 2, implementation may not begin until Year 3 March 6,

24 Implementation Implementation may take years for corridor protection projects DEFA staff review change orders, pay requests from contractors DEFA staff attend pre-con meetings, conduct site visits of active construction sites March 6,

25 Post-Construction Monitoring Review requests to any modifications to a protected area Review requests for deer hunts or measures to control invasive species Ensure no unauthorized activities (trails, structures, vegetation clearing) has occurred Biological and habitat monitoring March 6,

26 $ 15 million/year made available 7.5 million for stream and wetland restoration projects 7.5 million for stream and wetland protection projects March 6,

27 Projects must result in permanent and full restoration and/or protection Full attainment of aquatic life use standards Permanent use limitations on acquired properties via an Environmental Covenant March 6,

28 Through March 2013, 117 projects restoring and permanently protecting an estimated: 143 miles of stream corridor 10,000 acres of riparian lands and wetlands Total cost of sponsored projects = $162,500,000 March 6,

29 Upland acquisition with minimal relation to surface water quality Ground water/wellhead protection areas Dredging Flood control structures Trail establishment, parking lots, recreational fields, picnic tables, play grounds, swing sets March 6,

30 Supplemental Environmental Projects required as a part of an enforcement action Streams, wetlands or riparian buffer restoration for the primary purpose of pollutant treatment Watershed-wide BMPs (e.g. grass filter strips) Restoration, conversion or construction of physical structures (e.g. new dams) March 6,

31 Land owners who want to sever and retain mineral rights, but get paid full market value Upfront costs to implementers (title search and appraisals, ecological evaluations, restoration design plans) with no assurance they will rank high enough to be funded Projects with only a small percentage of area of aquatic resources relative to overall acreage (60 acre parcel with < 5 acres of wetlands) Scoring streams and wetlands in urban settings usually score to low to fall into funding range March 6,

32 Green Project Reserve Discount 0.1 % discount on WPCLF loans for projects that meet USEPA guidance for green infrastructure, water efficiency, energy efficiency, or are environmentally innovative Sustainable Growth Plan Implementation 0.1 % discount for WPCLF loans that implement an qualifying sustainable growth plan Western Lake Erie Basin Agricultural Best Management Practices $30 million available thru a linked-deposit program for landowners to implement 9 ag BMPs including wetland and riparian restoration March 6,

33 March 6,

34 SRF Programs have existed for almost 25 years Original emphasis was point sources Financing for NPS requires innovation WRRSP program provides funds for projects with significant water resources benefits WRRSP is a highly successful and competitive program March 6,

35 Ohio EPA Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance Tom Harcarik DEFA Front Desk March 6,

36 Protection Projects typically involve the purchase of land or easements to protect property adjacent to high quality streams, or property which contain high quality Category 3 wetlands March 6,

37 March 6,

38 March 6,

39 March 6,

40 Lower East Fork of Little Miami River Riparian Corridor Protection Clermont County Park District (2006) March 6,

41 Medina Marsh Preservation Project Medina County Park District (2013) March 6,

42 Highbush Cranberry Fen City of Streetsboro (2012) March 6,

43 Restoration Projects typically involves construction to restore the physical habitat needed to attain the aquatic life use designation of the stream -orreestablish a former high quality wetland. March 6,

44 March 6,

45 Just prior to dam removal One week later March 6,

46 Clover Groff Stream Restoration City of Columbus March 6,

2008 Compensatory Mitigation Rule: Overview and Highlights. Jenny Thomas U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wetlands Division July 2014

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