Rocky Fork Enterprise


Gahanna receives grant to improve water quality


Gahanna will receive a grant for stream restoration to improve water quality in partnership with the Sycamore Woods Condominium Association.

City engineer Karl Wetherholt told Gahanna City Council's service committee April 22 that funding has been pursued for more than a year, and the city has been informed it would receive a $202,917 federal grant.

He said the city identified a degraded segment of Sycamore Run with rapidly eroding channel banks.

The stream channel straddles property owned by the SWCA and the city, and the erosion is adversely affecting the riparian corridor on both properties, according to Wetherholt. About 15 homes are involved in the project, he said.

In March 2012, council approved an agreement by which the city and the SWCA joined to hire EMH&T to design a solution that would restore a stable channel pattern to improve water quality and aquatic habitat.

On behalf of the city, EMH&T applied for a Section 319(h) Non-Point Source Grant, administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, for the project.

The Ohio EPA received 23 requests for grant funding, and Gahanna was one of 10 projects recommended by the Ohio EPA to U.S. EPA Region 5 for funding.

"We are excited by the water-quality improvement opportunities these projects provide and look forward to working with you to help improve Ohio's surface waters," Russell Gibson, an Ohio EPA manager, wrote in an April 11 letter to the city.

Wetherholt said the cost of the project, subject to subcontracting, is $320,595. He estimates the total value of the project, including a conservation easement to be donated, at $338,195.

The estimated value of the easement is based on 3.52 acres at $5,000 per acre ($17,600 total). Both the total land area and the associated value will be determined more precisely at the outset of the project, according to Wetherholt.

The federal grant is for $202,917, or 60 percent of the estimated total value of the project.

The city and SWCA will be responsible for the remaining 40 percent of the project costs that include donated easements from both entities. The SWCA will contribute approximately $5,000, and the city has $175,500 encumbered from a 2012 appropriation specifically for the project.

The next step to move the project toward construction is to secure a nationwide permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and a Section 401 certification and notice of intent to discharge storm water from the Ohio EPA, according to Wetherholt.

He is requesting council legislation to enter into a contract with EMH&T to assist with securing the necessary permits in the amount of $19,800.

Sufficient funds already are encumbered, and no supplemental appropriation is necessary, Wetherholt said.