Wetland Degradation

Wetland Degredation

  • As part of our efforts to prevent wetlands degradation, Sierra Club Central Ohio group has met with local residents, civic associations, attorneys,  developers, watershed groups, city of Columbus representatives to address negative impacts to wetland and woodlands from a proposed Hamilton Road/SR 161 mega commercial-residential-retail development in Columbus near New Albany. As a result, several acres of woodlands were agreed to be donated as a preserve to Columbus Recreation and Parks.
  • We won local collaborative campaign to save the ODNR Sawmill Wetlands in northwest Columbus from proposed sale/development destruction.

Current Issues:

Proposed changes to 401 permits 

The OhioEPA has proposed changes to the process for granting 401 permits (required by developers building on wetlands), which would potentially make it easier to degrade Ohio’s waterways.  Firstly, the changes would empower the director of the OhioEPA to allow any activity he or she determines qualified to be authorized through a general permit, which, if passed, would undermine the entire protection framework established in Sections 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act and subsequent laws and rules.  Secondly, the OhioEPA has developed a GIS (Geographic Information System)-based approach that defines stream eligibility for protection under the permits. This approach would use the GIS and the applicants submission of four photos to be used by OhioEPA staff (instead of field inspection) to be used to determine if streams are eligible.  The Sierra Club, its partners, and roughly 1,300 Ohio citizens submitted written recommendations to the OhioEPA during the allotted comment period, which is currently under review.