Steering Committee Members - Charles (Chuck) Somerville, Ph.D., Marshall University (West Virginia), ORBA Chairperson; Harry Stone, Ph.D., Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist in Ohio Department of Natural Resources (Ohio), ORBA Vice-Chairperson; Brian Farkas, West Virginia Conservation Agency, ORBA Treasurer; Ron Brooks, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Laurel Cornell, Ph.D., Ohio River Parks Project and Indiana University (Indiana); Richard Harrison, P.E., Executive Director of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), (Ohio); Martin (Marty) T. Hettel, American Commercial Barge (Indiana); Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Ph.D., Miami Conservancy District (Ohio); Carey Johnson, Environmental Scientist Consultant in the Kentucky Division of Water’s Director’s Office; John King, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; Chris Lorentz, Ph.D., Thomas More College (Kentucky); Kari Mackenbach, ms consultants (Ohio); Heather Mayfield, Foundation for Ohio River Education (Ohio); Robin Peak, Tennessee Valley Authority (Tennessee); Mike Steinmaus, Owner and Operator, Wildwood Inn and Llama Farm (Ohio); Jeff Thomas, Electric Power Research Institute (Ohio).
Enterprise and Infrastructure Working Group - Much of the infrastructure in the Ohio River Basin is in excess of 50 years old and has exceeded its design life, while the need for green infrastructure is more relevant than ever before. For every dollar spent on flood risk management projects, approximately six dollars in potential damages have been saved. More commerce is moved on the Ohio River than through the Great Lakes, and equals that transported through the Panama Canal (prior to expansion).
Restoration and Protection Working Group - Population growth is driving the continued development of green areas in our watersheds while urban exodus and economic downturn has freed up much of urban areas for reuse. Nearly half of the freshwater fishes and over a third of all mussel species in the US are within the Ohio River Basin. This treasure of biodiversity is at increasing risk from invasive species which cause losses of almost $120 billion annually.
Sustainable Growth and Competitiveness Working Group - The regional economy will undergo major transitions as traditional industries decline and new, more sustainable industries emerge. The value of the Basin’s water resources wealth is expected to rise and ORBA will seek holistic understanding of utilizing water resources for economic growth and competitiveness that will be critical for informing sound regional policy.
Water Management and Availability Working Group - Water quality is often impacted by water quantity and both have far-reaching impacts on health and human safety. ORBA will address vulnerabilities such as possible diversion out of the Basin, and minimize nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into the Ohio River that is contributing to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico