Current Projects Where We Work Leadership Service Members Funders and Partners

Rural Action creates innovative solutions to address water quality impairments in Appalachian Ohio. We assist communities with non-point source pollution issues like wastewater treatment and sedimentation, forge new collaborations to research endangered species, and even turn acid mine drainage into market-ready pigment.

Serving as a leader in stream restoration throughout Ohio’s coal region since 1994, our staff work in partnership with communities to provide watershed management services including chemical and biological water quality monitoring, watershed plan writing and review, restoration and protection project management, and community organizing around water resources, helping to ensure access to clean water across our region well into the future.

Our Current Projects

Watershed Planning and Reporting

For over 25 years, Rural Action has been providing data-driven watershed management. We work with federal, state, and local partners to develop and implement watershed management plans in rural Ohio.

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Watershed Education

We focus on place-based education that gets kids and adults excited about the water around them. From field trips at local streams to streamside landowner workshops, our education offerings provide something for everyone. Do you know what watershed you live in? We’ll help you figure it out.

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Water Quality Improvements

Everyone deserves clean, drinkable, swimmable water. We work to help communities restore and protect their streams, no matter how big or small the project. See the impact we have made, and get ideas about projects you can help be a part of.

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Contract and Technical Services

Our staff are highly skilled and have built a portfolio of many data collection, project management, and education projects. Our Watershed Program staff have various certifications, and two staff members are certified as Level 3 Qualified Data Collectors (fish community biology, stream habitat assessment, and chemical water quality assessment) by the Ohio EPA. We would love to hear more about your monitoring, restoration, or community engagement project and how our staff can help.

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Appalachian Ohio Watershed Council (AOWC)

A collective voice makes the biggest impact. The Appalachian Ohio Watershed Council is a group of organizations and individuals interested in the best management of water resources throughout our region. We meet quarterly and provide training and resources to our members.

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Greater Walhonding Conservation Alliance (GWCA)

The Greater Walhonding Conservation Alliance utilizes a collaborative approach to support the organizations that are doing conservation work throughout the Walhonding Watershed.

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Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation

Ohio has a history of pre-regulation coal mining that left many scars on our land. We have been working to clean up old coal mines and restore the streams they pollute. With the help of many partners, the fish are coming back and the water is running clear.

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True Pigments, LLC

True Pigments, a Rural Action social enterprise, uses innovative technology to extract iron oxide from streams tainted by acid mine drainage, a legacy of historical coal mining, and turning it into a marketable pigment that will be sold to help pay for the cleanup of impacted streams. Initially, our focus will be on the restoration of seven miles of Sunday Creek. The result will be cleaner water, more diverse aquatic life, and new jobs in our community.


There are many tools and resources available to you related to watershed management. Find the partners and links we use the most here.

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Nathan Schlater

Nathan Schlater

Senior Director of Ecological Restoration

740.677.4047 ext. 360

Sarah Benton

Sarah Benton


Watershed Restoration Project Manager

National Service Members

Each year, Rural Action mobilizes more than 35 energetic and passionate people across the region to help small communities do big things through our Leadership Development and Service program. Our National Service members serve in communities through a yearlong commitment as part of our Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps, an AmeriCorps State/National program administered by Rural Action, or our through our AmeriCorps VISTA program, Rural Renewal. See members who are currently serving with Rural Action here or learn more about how we are growing local leaders here.

Funders and Partners

National Forest Foundation
J. M. Kaplan Fund
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District
The New York Community Trust
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
Just Transition Fund
The Sugar Bush Foundation
Stream and Wetlands Foundation
Oxbow River & Stream Restoration