New grant provides for expansion of Ohio Watershed database to include Dayton area

Kat Tenbarge
March 27, 2019

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Ohio Watershed database will expand to include Dayton-area watersheds through a new $10,000 grant by regional water technology organization, Confluence. The organization, which stems from an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, joins stakeholders from industry, academia, government, and private life to catalyze economic development that protects human health and the environment.

Jen Bowman, Voinovich School Director of Environmental Programs, said the project uses the HydroVIEW data platform developed by the Voinovich School and hosted on Ohio University’s Ohio Watershed database. The GIS-based tool allows users to visualize various types of water quality data for specific watersheds on an online map.

The Confluence project aims to protect the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer from potential pollutants. The sole-source aquifer provides drinking water to 400,000 people in the city of Dayton and supports numerous industries in the Dayton area.

The project got its start when Bowman presented on the Appalachian Basin’s HydroVIEW online data platform to Confluence members July 2018 during a groundwater workshop in Dayton. Bowman then authored a proposal that she presented to Confluence members in December 2018 in Cincinnati.

The project kickoff meeting was held Feb. 21, 2019 at Ohio University’s Russ Research Center in Dayton. Attendees included representatives from the City of Dayton, the Miami Conservancy District, and other planning units in the area, as well as representatives of local businesses, local and county government, nonprofit organizations, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Miami River Valley Planning Commission.

Bowman said both the Ohio EPA and stakeholders in the Dayton area were instrumental in providing initial data sets for the Upper Great Miami River, the Lower Great Miami, and the Upper Little Miami. Two undergraduate students and one Voinovich School graduate student are assisting Bowman in the program, which she says is off to a good start.

“I left with a thumb drive of data that folks provided for the site,” Bowman said. “They're very excited about the opportunity to have a platform where their data can be uploaded and shared.”

In addition to watershed planning, HydroVIEW users can use the data for water restoration, water prioritization, writing watershed action plans, writing grants, planning and zoning, economic development, and storm water management.

“We even had conversations about collecting real-time data, where high-end technology sensors could be installed,” Bowman said. “We're not there yet on this project, but those were some of the future uses. People are very excited, to say the least, about getting this up and running for this area.”

Both the kick-off meeting and the Confluence workshop were held at Ohio University’s Russ Research Center, a 60-acre high-tech research park in Dayton that is home to some of the area’s leading defense, engineering, and technology firms. The Russ Research Center is owned by the Ohio University Foundation and managed by the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University.