Partnering for Water Quality

The area’s first denitrifying bioreactor is now in full operation in the central part of Defiance County with
construction taking place in August 2022. The selected site is in MarkTownship, in the Platter Creek
Watershed. This innovative practice is another piece of the puzzle in addressing algal blooms, not only in
Lake Erie, but also in the Maumee River Watershed. Deance is the only community that uses the upper
reaches of the Maumee River for drinking water, and the Maumee River is the City’s only raw water supply for almost 20,000 drinking water customers.

The experimental project is a large rectangular filter bed at the edge of a farm field, filled with a specific type of wood chips. Wood is high in carbon, which provides the medium that is expected to capture nitrogen before water from the drainage tiles enters into local waterways. Designed by Tyler Miller of Defiance SWCD, the goal is to treat 15% of the water coming through the filtration area.

This project is a partnership of the Great Lakes Commission, Defiance Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), City of Defiance and landowners Mike and Michelle Zeedyk. The US Geological Survey has also been involved to conduct monitoring of the project to help evaluate the project’s effectiveness over time.

NOVEMBER 23, 2022

Conservation Kick is a program of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), which is supported by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). As part of the Conservation Kick program, the City of Defiance recently entered into a contract with the GLC and Defiance County landowners, Mike & Michelle Zeedyk to install a denitrifying bioreactor on their property.

Nicole Zacharda, Great Lakes Commission; Mike Zeedyk, Landowner;
Tyler Miller, Defiance SWCD; Jeff Leonard, City of Defiance

AUGUST 1, 2022

What if drinking water utilities could work with upstream producers to install conservation practices that reduce nutrient loss and protect source water?

The Great Lakes Commission launched Conservation Kick in 2020 to create a water quality marketplace for the Great Lakes Basin. Building on the pioneering vision of the Great Lakes Basin Compact to efficiently and responsibly develop, use and conserve the water resources of the Basin, Conservation Kick aims to keep soil and nutrients out of the Great Lakes and protect drinking water by allowing utilities, industries and businesses, nonprofit organizations and concerned citizens to invest in water quality credits.

Over the past decade the Great Lakes Commission has designed and led watershed-scale water quality trading efforts in Wisconsin’s Fox River Basin and the Western Lake Erie Basin. Conservation Kick takes lessons learned from these efforts to catalyze water quality trading across the Great Lakes Basin. Conservation Kick will expand the universe of credit buyers and reduce the transaction costs that often present a barrier to entry in traditional water quality trading markets.

By connecting drinking water utilities with agricultural producers, Conservation Kick transactions will result in improvements to community health, local economies, and the environment.

Conservation Kick is supported by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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