TOLEDO, Ohio — The state of Ohio recently created the H2Ohio program aimed at improving water quality throughout the state of Ohio, particularly in the western Lake Erie basin. 

Rob Krain, the executive director of Black Swamp Conservancy, is overseeing some of the projects.

“We have about 150 sites,” said Krain, “spread across 20,000 acres, spread across 13 counties.”

Black Swamp Conservancy's mission is to protect and preserve natural and agricultural lands in northwest Ohio for the benefit of future generations.

“That's what makes these projects so special,” said Krain. “They're going to outlive everyone who works on them.”

That kind of knowledge and experience from Black Swamp Conservancy is helpful to the state of Ohio's H2Ohio program. The program aims to improve water quality. 

The Ohio EPA and Black Swamp Conservancy are collaborating with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which is engaging directly with farmers. 

“What this site is doing is catching runoff of adjacent farms and industrial properties and the vegetation on site is filtering the nutrients and other pollutants before they're able to make it out into the lake,” said Krain.

With all of these agencies working together, Krain feels the future is bright. 

“Collectively, we should really be able to reduce nutrient loading into the lake and hopefully send less of it to the algal bloom reducing its size,” said Krain.

Projects like this are massive, but they've been able to reengineer this land and make a lot of the necessary changes in 18 months. When they're done, they're giving the land to the Sandusky County Park district so it can be open to the public. Krain hopes the public will enjoy the land for years to come. 

“I like to say our land is both our heritage and our legacy,” said Krain. “With projects like this, we're building our legacy.”​