Two grants aimed at addressing the beneficial use of dredged material were awarded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC). The $50,000 Lake Erie Protection Fund Grants were awarded to Megan Rua at Wright State University to study whether cover crops will improve beneficial microorganisms and reduce contaminants in dredge materials, and to Angelica Vasques-Ortega at Bowling Green State University to study corn yield, metal uptake, and metal and nutrient runoff of various dredge material/soil mixes.
The awards stemmed from the OLEC’s Request for Proposals to study agricultural uses of Toledo Harbor dredged materials. The commission specifically asked for projects that would use the Center of Dredge Innovation located in Toledo; that would target crops typically grown in northwest Ohio; and engage area farmers.
OLEC’s goals are to preserve Lake Erie’s natural resources, protect water quality and ecosystems and promote economic development in the region. The chairman of OLEC is the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with other commission members being the directors of state departments of transportation, health, development services, agriculture and natural resources. Five additional members are appointed by the state’s governor.