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GLIN==> Lake Erie Artist and Black River Remedial Action Plan Receive the 2004 Ohio Lake Erie Awards

Submitted by Ted Conlin   <ted.conlin@epa.state.oh.us>

Lake Erie Artist and Black River Remedial Action Plan Receive the 2004 Ohio 
Lake Erie Awards

Special recognition also goes to Toledo man for work on the lake's Balanced 
Growth Initiative

TOLEDO, OH - Renowned Lake Erie artist Ben Richmond and an organization 
working to restore the health of the Black River are winners of the 2004 
Ohio Lake Erie Awards, announced today by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission 

"These award recipients have worked tirelessly to promote and protect Lake 
Erie," said Commission Chairman Christopher Jones, Director of Ohio EPA. "We 
commend their efforts in advancing the goals set forth in the Ohio Lake Erie 
Protection & Restoration Plan."

Richmond, who lives in Marblehead, was nominated for the individual award by 
Jamie Kochensparger for his artistic endeavors on behalf of Lake Erie. He 
has captured the beauty and fragility of the lake in hundreds of paintings. 
His images of Marblehead Lighthouse and the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse grace 
Ohio's Lake Erie license plates. Sales of the license plates have raised 
more than $7.5 million for the Lake Erie Protection Fund over the last 11 
years. Donations of his artwork have generated more than $500,000 for other 
area charities.

In addition, Richmond's life and accomplishments have been the subject of a 
public broadcasting documentary, which brought more interest and attention 
to Lake Erie.

The Black River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) was established in 1991 when the 
Ohio EPA appointed a local committee to address restoring the Black River. 
The Black River had been designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern under 
the guidelines of the bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. 
Since then, the RAP has worked tirelessly to improve the river's 
impairments, being guided by its Coordinating Committee led by Chairman Ken 
Pearce of the Lorain County General Health District with assistance from Ted 
Conlin, Ohio EPA RAP Coordinator. Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of 
Health lifted a 21-year-old "avoid contact" advisory for water in the lower 
five miles of the river. Recently, the OEPA declared the river to be "in 
recovery" and no longer impaired as a home for fish and amphibians.

Public access to the riverfront has been enhanced and an innovative "fish 
shelf" constructed at the waterfront grove site to create improved habitat 
for spawning. The RAP was nominated for the organizational Lake Erie Award 
by Edith C. Chase.

This year, the commission gave special recognition to John Hull of Toledo's 
Hull & Associates for his efforts in leading the Balanced Growth Task Force 
which recently announced the first-ever Balanced Growth Initiative for the 
Lake Erie watershed. The initiative is a guideline for protecting Lake Erie 
and its tributaries while supporting economic competitiveness in the region.

Established in 1995, the Ohio Lake Erie Awards honor those citizens and 
organizations that have worked diligently to enhance Ohio's Great Lake. In 
the years since, nine individuals and organizations have been recognized for 
their stewardship of this important natural resource. Nominating a person or 
organization for the award is a way of providing special appreciation to 
those who work to support the goals of the Lake Erie Protection & 
Restoration Fund.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission, based in Toledo, is comprised of the 
directors of the Ohio departments of transportation, development, health, 
agriculture, environmental protection and natural resources. The commission 
was created to preserve Lake Erie's natural resources, enhance its water 
quality and promote economic development in the region.

Work of the commission is largely supported through sales of Lake Erie 
license plates, featuring either the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo 
Harbor Lighthouse.

For Further Information Contact:
Edwin J. Hammett, Ohio Lake Erie Commission
(419) 245-2514

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