A Rural Action proposal to restore wetlands and stream channels in the Western Lake Erie Basin to reduce phosphorus loads has been deemed “Pay for Success Appropriate and Ready,” which means the proposal is eligible to be launched under a pay-for-success framework called ResultsOhio.

To move forward, the proposal now needs the support of policymakers. To aid in that effort, the project has been issued a Feasibility Report from ResultsOHIO that can be used to advocate for results-based funding from the Ohio General Assembly. In addition, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) plans to build this project into its budget this year, which will enable it to move through the General Assembly under the ODNR budget.

“ResultsOHIO draws on bold new ideas in the private sector to help solve significant and persistent problems in the public sector,” Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague said. “For many of our state’s challenges, a pay for success approach can provide a path for innovative strategies to make a real impact on the lives of Ohioans.”

ResultsOHIO is designed to protect taxpayer dollars by focusing on results-based ideas. Public dollars will be used to reimburse project costs if it is proven to deliver real results at its conclusion.

The proposed project would target sub-watersheds in the West Lake Erie Basin that have high phosphorus loads and sites within those watersheds that have a high potential for phosphorus removal. Management practices could include stream bank stabilization, wetland re-establishment/restoration, and drain tile capturing.

Phosphorus pollution comes from a variety of sources including wastewater and agricultural fields. Nutrient enrichment in our waterways can lead to harmful algal blooms which impact the economy and quality of life in Ohio.

It is estimated the project will cost $5 million and require 5 years to complete.