An Rx For Lake Erie Streams
Izaak Walton League of America, Ohio Division
Basin Program Funds:
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified sediments and attached
substances from nonpoint source pollution as a major source of contamination
in Lake Erie and its tributaries. While considerable work has been done to control
rural nonpoint source pollution, its urban counter-part continues to grow in
volume. The Izaak Walton League of America, Ohio Division (IWLA) sought to tap
citizen concern and willingness to behave in an environmentally sensitive manner
and enhance as yet underdeveloped programs to monitor and restore urban streams.
Historically Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) have concentrated
on correcting agricultural nonpoint source pollution such as sedimentation,
nutrient enrichment and pesticide deposition. Consequently remedial measures
are relatively well-developed to address these issues but measures addressing
urban run-off and stream modification are not nearly so well developed. The
IWLA program Save Our Streams (SOS) trains volunteers to monitor streams for
nonpoint source pollution, implement hands-on restoration projects and, in turn,
impart these skills to others. SOS has been identified as a potential complementary
service which can be employed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
to increase citizen involvement and address Lake Erie basin urban run-off and
stream modification problems.
The Save Our Streams program includes three workshops. "Introductory
Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring" workshops teach volunteers to identify watershed
pollution problems, develop a watershed map which includes stream habitat and
watershed land uses, and adopt a local stream for monitoring and restoration.
"Quality Assurance" workshops are for persons who have completed the first workshop
or have equivalent experience. Through field and laboratory tests, participants
are assessed on their ability to carry out in-stream monitoring, correct monitoring
errors and analyze data. Finally, "Train the Trainer" workshops teach people
to design, coordinate and run their own volunteer monitoring projects. Information
covered in these workshops includes topics from the "Introductory" workshop
as well as training in data review, management and reporting, quality assurance
and control, program promotion and public outreach.
The Ohio Division of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC) provided funding to
soil and water conservation districts to hire an urban stream specialist who
organized local volunteers and groups to carry out urban watershed restoration
programs. IWLA provided low cost training for DSWC staff and volunteers, enabling
them to train other volunteers in stream assessment and government agency cooperation
to improve pollution control. IWLA national office sent experienced staff to
Ohio to assist the Ohio Division in the initial training. IWLA Ohio held 1 "Train
the Trainer" workshop, 3 "Quality Assurance Certification" workshops and 4 "Introductory"
SOS workshops. These workshops were all conducted proximate to Great Lakes Areas
of Concern (AOCs). The workshops provided education about stream pollution and
rehabilitation, established a database system to help monitor the streams and
enabled a ‘hands-on' approach to conservation among the volunteers.
Representatives from 28 Ohio and 1 Pennsylvania counties participated in a total
of 8 SOS workshops between June and August 1997. Thirty persons were trained
as SOS trainers, while an additional forty were certified through the "Quality
Assurance" workshops. In total 143 persons received training to monitor nonpoint
source pollution and participate in remedial stream modification at eight events.
Contact: Raymond C. Zehler, (513) 868-3179