Coronavirus Budget Cuts Creates Uncertainty For Lake Erie Cleanup Fund
The latest round of state budget cuts to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 has caused many departments to reevaluate their programs. This includes the H2Ohio fund, which sets money aside to keep Lake Erie, and other water sources, clean.
H2Ohio is a $172 million program to help reduce farmland runoff, protect wetlands and improve water systems. Gov. Mike DeWine says this programs is still a top priority for the state.
But while the first round of money has been deposited, future aid is in question.
Peter Bucher, Ohio Environmental Council's water resources director, says H2Ohio is good for the state and calls on leaders to keep it going.
"If things have to be adjusted, figure out creative ways to still achieve the mission. It might look a little different than what we had all hoped for and what was planned and rolled out," Bucher says.
About 2,000 farmers on 1.1 million acres in northwest Ohio signed up for the program before the state suspended applications, because of the state's budget concerns.
The program also funds Ohio EPA water system improvement projects and wetland protection programs through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.