Ohio River Basin

   

Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA)

 
Ohio River basin map

 

A Unified Voice for the Ohio River

The Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) is a collaborative, unified voice of stakeholders for water resource priorities of the Ohio River Basin striving to sustain healthy ecosystems and river communities and vibrant water-dependent economies.

ORBA is a voluntary collaborative that provides a forum for addressing water resource issues in the Ohio River Basin in today’s changing environment. ORBA began in 2009 as an outgrowth of the Ohio River Basin Summit co-led by Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Today, ORBA includes members from over 130 organizations including local, state and federal agencies, as well as commissions, industry, academia, and not-for-profit organizations.

 

ORBA, through ORSANCO fiscal sponsorship, executed a US Army Corps of Engineers Planning Assistance to States (PAS) initiative. The result is the collaborative Plan for the Ohio River Basin 2020 - 2025. This document provides six Ohio River Basin-wide goals, objectives and strategic actions as a framework for progress.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the benefits of ORBA Membership?  — ORBA Members are active collaborators with others from Federal and State agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations, watershed groups, and academia in the development and communication of a regional strategy for the Ohio River watershed. Members receive periodic updates on ORBA activities; receive invitations to participate in teleconferences, meetings, and activities of the Working Groups; receive invitations to ORBA Summits with face-to-face collaboration in Working Groups; are eligible to serve on the ORBA Steering Committee; and are eligible to nominate and vote for Members of the Steering Committee.
Who is eligible to be a Member of ORBA? — Membership is completely open to anyone interested in supporting ORBA’s mission.
How do I become a Member of ORBA? — To become an ORBA Member, simply send an email and expressing your interest in being a Member to: OhioRiverBasinAlliance1@gmail.com. Please include your preference of Working Group participation; affiliation (if any), telephone number, and address. Note that anyone who attends an ORBA conference is automatically enrolled as a Member of ORBA.
How long does Membership last? — Memberships must be reconfirmed annually via written communication (e-mail) or by active participation in the activities of ORBA during the year. Members can opt out of Membership by submitting a request, in writing or via email, to a Steering Committee Member.
Who is eligible to serve on the Steering Committee? — Any ORBA Member is can be nominated and elected to serve on the Steering Committee. A Member can self-nominate. Bylaws require that the ORBA Steering Committee include a specified wide range of interests.
What is an “Advisor to the Steering Committee”? — Organizations, Agencies, and Commissions exist in the Ohio River basin that have important regional missions and authorities. It is critically important that ORBA have access to the concerns and interests of those entities. Such entities are invited to have there representatives participate in Steering Committee meetings as Advisors. Advisors do not require election by ORBA Membership.
 
 
   
 
Ohio River Basin Goals
 
   
 

The goals provide for long term end products of the Plan for the Ohio River Basin 2020 - 2025 based on the different areas of concern throughout the Basin. The study team, including USACE, ORBA, ORSANCO and other stakeholders, agreed on these goals during the planning process to provide comprehensive strategies and solutions for the Ohio River Basin. The goals are qualitative and are meant to guide the objectives as well as guide the function of ORBA working groups aligned with the goals.

 

Abundant Clean Water: Ensure the quality and quantity of water in the Ohio River Basin is adequate to support the economic, social, and environmental functions that are dependent on it.

Healthy and Productive Ecosystems: Conserve, enhance, and restore ecosystems within the Ohio River Basin to support natural habitats and the fish and wildlife resources that depend upon them.

Knowledge and Education to Inform Decisions: Ensure that research and education adequately inform Ohio River Basin-wide economic, social, and environmental decisions; enhance the profile of education organizations in the Basin that synergize efforts to garner effective public involvement in the stewardship and management of the Basin’s resources.

Nation’s Most Valuable River Transportation and Commerce Corridor: Provide for safe, efficient, and dependable commercial navigation within the Ohio River Basin to ensure a competitive advantage for our goods in global and regional markets; sustain a water use system to efficiently and effectively support agricultural, industrial, and energy productivity.

Reliable Flood Risk Management: Provide reliable flood risk management through well- managed and maintained infrastructure, including appropriate floodplain connections for water conveyance and ecosystem benefits, and management of surface and storm water runoff to better protect life, property, and economies.

World-class Nature-based Recreation Opportunities: Enrich the quality of life for people and recreation-based economies by maintaining and enhancing riverine, lake, and wetland-associated recreation within the Basin.

 
 

Alliance Steering Committee 

The ORBA Steering Committee is responsible for leading in the furtherance of the mission, vision, and goals
 
 
 

Working Groups 

ORBA has six Working Groups corresponding to the Basin-wide goals to advance implementation of the Ohio River Basin-wide strategy.
 
 

 Working Groups (shown alphabetically below) are assigned to each of the six goals in the Plan for the Ohio River Basin 2020 - 2025 (September 2020). Working Groups are charged with achieving the objectives in the Plan for the respective goals.

Abundant Clean Water Working Group
Mr. Richard Harrison, Leader
The Water Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1: Organizations and states, enabled by the Clean Water Act will work collaboratively to demonstrate measurable improvements for the number of water bodies meeting the Clean Water Act’s drinkable, swimmable and fishable water quality goals by 2030 as compared to 2020.
Objective 2: By 2025, develop effective strategies to support existing Ohio River Basin source water protection programs such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and utilize best practices from these strategies to build collaborative programs to protect Ohio River Basin drinking, industrial, surface and ground water supplies that do not currently have source water protection programs.
Objective 3: By 2025, identify priority waters with high incidences of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and convene stakeholders to prepare an Ohio River Basin-wide strategy to help respond to HABs in the Basin and that will result in measurable reduction in HAB occurrence by 2030 as compared to 2020 priority areas.
Objective 4: By 2025, The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission
(ORSANCO) will convene water quantity managers Basin-wide to establish common goals directed at identifying Basin-wide problems affecting water quantity management and recommend strategies to address these goals.
Objective 5: By 2025, inventory drinking and wastewater system infrastructure needs for the Ohio River Basin and develop a strategy to maintain these systems Basin wide. 
 
Healthy and Productive Ecosystems Working Group
Mr. Jordan Lubetkin, Leader
The Ecosystems Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1: By 2022, Basin states and the U.S. EPA, ORSANCO, conservation organizations, federal agencies, and other stakeholders will develop a plan for Ohio River Basin restoration through the identification and protection of at-risk ecosystems and the threats to them such as acid mine drainage or emerging toxic contamination. Examples of at-risk ecosystems include wetlands and riparian zones, habitat for threatened or endangered species, and other areas of ecological significance.
Objective 2: By 2025, secure funding to initiate a federal geographic program for the restoration of the Ohio River Basin that is appropriate to the need identified by the states and U.S. EPA, ORSANCO, conservation organizations, federal agencies, and other stakeholders.
Objective 3: In collaboration with state and federal agencies and other stakeholders, develop and implement strategies to eradicate, control, and manage invasive species within the Ohio River Basin. Management and control strategies should be comprehensive in application and proactive in nature by utilizing sound scientific data designed to analyze and assess risk, develop and utilize effective control methods, limit dispersal, reduce the effects of invasive species, and focus conservation efforts on high-priority ecosystems within the Basin. Management and control efforts should also include the public sector via the development and implementation of education and outreach programs designed to increase the understanding of the potential ecological, economic, and social impacts of invasive species within the Basin.  
 
Knowledge and Education to Inform Decisions Working Group
Ms. Heather Mayfield, Leader
The Knowledge Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1: Regularly facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to identify and prioritize Ohio River Basin challenges that need to be addressed through research and/or education.
Objective 2: By 2021, establish coalitions to address Basin-wide research needs and map out an Ohio River research investment strategy that can be funded and implemented
Objective 3: By 2025, create a Basin-wide communication/marketing plan that will unify the Basin, educate the public on the value of natural resources and increase pride in the Ohio River Basin.
 
Nation’s Most Valuable River Transportation and Commerce Corridor
Mr. Martin (Marty) Hettel, Leader
The Transportation Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1: By 2025, the inland waterways infrastructure is efficiently funded to consistently maintain authorized river pools and the economical transportation of goods on the inland waterways.
Objective 2: By 2025, compared to 2019, the five-year growth trend of water-dependent industry, recreation, and commerce has increased.
 
Reliable Flood Control and Risk Reduction Working Group
Dr. Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Leader
The Flood Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1: By 2025, prepare a Basin-wide investment plan that addresses high flood risk areas, including areas where dams and local protection projects exist.
Objective 2: By 2025 USACE, USGS and NWS will jointly prepare a Basin-wide plan to update and expand components of an adequate flood warning system incorporating climate change considerations.
Objective 3: Hold regular collaborative stakeholder meetings to discuss and identify opportunities and issues with flood control and increase overall communication between Flood Response Groups.
 
World-class Nature-based Recreation Opportunities Working Group
Dr. David Wicks, Leader
The Recreation Working Group is charged with developing and executing a detailed action plan to accomplish the following objectives in the Ohio River Basin Strategy:
Objective 1:  From 2021 - 2025, grow the Basin’s outdoor recreation economy at a rate that exceeds the national average.
Objective 2: By 2025, create a Basin-wide communication plan for recreation that encompasses recreation safety as well as the benefits to public health and quality of life. 

Join ORBA - Membership is FREE and is open to anyone who supports ORBA’s mission. Members receive periodic updates on ORBA activities, as well as the opportunity to participate in teleconferences, meetings, and activities of ORBA. Members are invited to ORBA Summits where they can participate in face-to-face collaboration. ORBA members can be nominated to serve on the ORBA Steering Committee, and are eligible to nominate and vote for Steering Committee members.

Documents

Ohio River Basin Alliance - ORBA is an outcome of the October 2009 Ohio River Basin summit that was co-led by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and the former Ohio River Basin Water Resources Association. ORBA is an informal collaboration that has included more than 200 representatives from over 80 state, local and federal agencies, and industry, academia, and not-for-profit organizations. ORBA has held nine regional conferences in six basin states (2010 - 2016) providing a forum to discuss the state of natural and man-made resources and the issues facing the basin in today’s changing environment. ORBA is identifying high priority regional challenges using the America’s Watershed Initiative (www.americaswatershed.org) goals as a point of departure.

ORBA Member - you are invited to become and ORBA member (free) by clicking here: ORBA Member Registration http://eepurl.com/dxY1UT . For more information or to provide feedback to ORBA, contact us at  OhioRiverBasinAlliance1@gmail.com

 

 

US Army Corps of Engineers

River photo

 

Corps’ Role in the Ohio River Basin

The US Army Corps of Engineers is a lead Federal agency in water resources development and management in the Ohio River Basin and maintains a sustainable array of infrastructure that reduces life loss and flood damages and supports navigation within the basin. The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division office and 4 river District offices oversee the planning, design, construction and management of water resources projects that reduce life loss and flood damages, reduce regional transportation costs of various commodities and fuels, restore ecosystem habitat and services, and respond to needs of the basin residents and security resources during floods, droughts and other disasters. The 2009 Ohio River Basin Comprehensive Plan was a joint effort of the river districts to ascertain risks in the basin and develop strategies that address those risks through sustainable and resilient projects. 

 
     

USACE National Water Resources Missions

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been authorized by Congress to engage in various water resources related missions including flood risk management, inland and coastal navigation, ecosystem restoration, water supply, hydropower, recreation, hurricane and storm damage repair and regulatory permit actions on navigable waterways under provisions of the Clean Water Act. The Corps of Engineers also supports National Security and Disaster Response efforts in the nation and collaborates with other Federal agencies in creating a sustainable and resilient infrastructure system that meets the needs of the nation.