Kaptur Welcomes Federal Awards, Urges Comprehensive Approach to Water Issues

January 9, 2008
Press Release
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur welcomed the release of $2.2 million in federal funds by the U.S. Department of Labor to help in cleanup and recovery efforts in seven Ohio counties that were hit by severe flooding earlier this year. The funds will be used to create temporary jobs to repair property damage and also clean and reconstruct waterways that were affected by the floods.

At the same time, Congresswoman Kaptur repeated her call for a comprehensive approach to watershed issues in the region.

“We live in what can be called the ‘water kingdom’ of Ohio,” Kaptur said. “Our water resources are a tremendous asset, but they must be managed in a comprehensive manner. Earlier this year in Findlay, I urged (FEMA) Secretary Michael Chertoff to take the lead in bringing together all the stakeholders in the region and I repeat that message again today.

”Without a comprehensive management plan for the Maumee River basin, the flooding that devastated Hancock, Allen and other counties will be repeated in years to come.”

Congresswoman Kaptur spearheaded creation of the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) Partnership in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and appropriate state and local agencies. A partnership charter was signed in March 2006 among 14 representative agencies and organizations with common interest: enhancing multi-purpose projects to improve land and water resource management in the basin and promoting a healthy, productive watershed.

In the wake of last summer’s devastating floods, FEMA in September declared Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Richland and Wyandot counties eligible for public assistance. Three of those countries—Hancock, Putnam and Crawford—will be eligible for assistance from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services as a result of the $2.2 million award announced today. Workers who were affected by the summer storms will be eligible for temporary jobs on cleanup and reconstruction of destroyed waterways and lands within the affected communities. Cleanup projects are also being coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent destabilization of streambanks and waterways that would accelerate soil erosion in the farm-rich area of northwestern Ohio.