Friday, June 29, 2018

Happy Mayflies? Happy Lake Erie

by Sara Guiher, TMACOG Water Quality Planner

Very few of us welcome mayflies to our homes, places of work, cars (let’s be honest, they’re EVERYWHERE), with open arms. A large hatch like we’ve had this year might make you want to hide until it passes. But when it comes to the health of Lake Erie, mayflies are a good sign!

Mayflies spend most of their life in an aquatic environment such as a lake or river. The adult form that we are familiar with lives only long enough to reproduce after leaving the water. During their aquatic stage mayflies are intolerant of pollution and low oxygen. When Lake Erie received high levels of industrial pollution and sewage, these organisms could not survive in large numbers. When our lake was declared “dead” in the 1960s, mayflies were in the same place. Today’s issues in Lake Erie could also impact these sensitive species; large algal blooms can deplete oxygen in the water. But this year’s batch is good news about water quality, at least in early summer.

So next time you see a swarm of mayflies, hopefully you smile at their signal that hope is not lost for Lake Erie. Just remember: when you greet a cloud of our water quality friends with a smile, it’s probably not a good idea to open your mouth.

Here's some mayfly larvae collected by students in the 2017 Student Watershed Watch. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Potential Path for Paddlers

People from Pemberville in Wood County to Port Clinton in Ottawa County and communities in between have looked at the recreation potential of the Portage River for many years. Plans were recently dusted off for a proposal to include a water trail project in the Ohio State Capital Budget. While that funding opportunity did not come through, state agencies dealing with waterways say that the idea has merit and preliminary plans are positive.

At a meeting of the Portage River Basin Council held at the Pemberville Opera House on April 4, Tom Arbour, Water Trails Coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and

Bike Month is Here!

Something for everyone this month:

May 4
Pedal to Petals
Sylvania Art Walk bike train. Check for details.

May 5
Toledo Bikes! Group Ride
Meet at Toledo Bikes! 1114 Washington St., downtown Toledo. Call for time: 419.386.6090.

May 9 
Bike to School Day
Schools hold special events to encourage young students to walk or cycle to school. Cycle with your children.

May 12 
Bike Day at the Toledo Farmers Market (9 a.m. – noon)
Ride to the market in downtown Toledo and pick up the brand-new Bicycle Users Map, created by cyclists for cyclists. Learn how experienced bike commuters use separated paths and city streets to get to work and school. T-shirts for cyclists while supplies last. Toledo Bikes! Is on hand for inspection and minor bike repairs.

Maumee Valley Adventurers - Saturday Casual Ride (9 a.m.). Meet at Middlegrounds Metropark.

May 16
Ride of Silence – Toledo and Bowling Green (6:30 p.m.)
These solemn, slow group rides are an annual reminder to drivers that cyclists share the road. We remember people who have been injured or killed while riding bicycles. More than 200 cyclists riding silently together create a memorable event.

May 18
Bike to Work Day
Be the hero at your office and organize a bike ride. Meet at a park and ride in together, or take your bikes to work and have a lunchtime ride. If you have an office wellness committee, get them involved in planning something special. Call TMACOG for tips on organizing Bike to Work Day at your work place.

May 19 
Outdoor Expo with Metroparks Toledo (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
Try out all kinds of outdoor activities at the Expo and meet area cycling clubs and businesses. Learn about Metroparks cycling programs, trails, and other amenities.

Bedford Bike Cruise (registration 9-10 a.m.)
Meet at Jackman Road Elementary, Temperance, MI. Two choices: Land to Lake 30-mile route, or the family friendly local route.

May 26 
Kids Open Shop at Toledo Bikes!
Check website for hours:

May 27 
Sylvania Slow Ryders
Group bike ride starting at the Sylvania Library. Every fourth Sunday, June-September (4 p.m.).

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Water/Wastewater Training

“Field Training & Asset Management for Water and Wastewater Operators and Engineers”
Wednesday, May 9, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Toledo

  • ·         Human Assets: How to manage and motivate your staff
  • ·         Asset Management: How to comply with Ohio EPA regulations
  • ·         Asset Management: How to take action
  • ·         GIS – Inventory of assets
  • ·         Financial assistance programs
  • ·         Stormwater
  • ·         SCADA systems for water and wastewater treatment plants
  • ·         Field Demonstrations: Sewer and manhole assessment, hydrant inspection

The registration fee is $40 for TMACOG members and $75 for non-TMACOG members. Attendees will be provided a light breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and will take home a flash drive with presentations. Operators and Professional Engineers will earn up to 6.0 contact hours.

For more information contact TMACOG Water Quality Planner Kris Barnswell: 419.241.9155, ext. 1123 or

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Friday, April 13, 2018

Funds Still Available for Fuel Conversion Vehicles

Ohio EPA announces the award of $2.8 million in new Alternative Fuel Vehicle grants for 15 projects statewide. These grants will pay a portion of the costs of 141 new heavy duty alternative fuel vehicles, including 24 propane school buses, 2 compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses, 41 CNG transit buses, and 74 CNG refuse trucks. These grants are supported with state dollars from the Alternative Fuel Transportation Fund of the Ohio Developmental Services Agency.

Approximately $2.2 million is still available, and Ohio EPA will continue to accept and review applications in the order received until all available funds have been allocated. 

Eligible vehicles must have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of at least 26,000 pounds, and be fueled by CNG, liquefied natural gas (LNG), or liquid petroleum gas, also referred to as propane or butane. Application information and the list of new grant recipients are posted on the AFV grant program website.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Monday, April 9, 2018

2018 Ohio Public Works Expo

Registration is open for the Ohio Public Works Expo to be held June 20-21 at the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo. See the details in the brochure after the jump: workshops and other great information. You may also register on-line at 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Construction Notes from the 2018 Toledo Region Transportation Summit

All presentations from the 2018 Toledo Region Transportation Summit are posted on

Mike Gramza, Ohio Department of Transportation

• The Diverging Diamond in Perrysburg was completed in 2017. Gramza said, “In my 30-year career, the most significant improvement in traffic.”

• The Waterville Bridge estimates came in under budget. The new bridge over the Maumee River will be built right next to the existing bridge and the road will be re-aligned to the new bridge. The old one will be demolished after the new one goes into service.

• The extensive re-building of the entire Phillips-Berdan-Willys Park area will be completed this year. Three of the five planned roundabouts are complete. The additional two will be done in 2018. This whole project will change access to I-75, includes bridges, re-route roads in addition to the roundabouts. The City of Toledo says that this region reflects a $30 million investment

• In Bowling Green, ODOT is partnering on a new gateway to the city. There will be two new roundabouts, moving a waterline and pump station and building a bridge. The bridge will have orange beams, special lighting and signage. That project will starting September, 2018 and be complete in 12 months.

• A new Dorr St. intersection with I-475 has been a priority since 1996. Construction will begin in 2018.

• A new ODOT initiative is DriveOhio. This program assists the development of systems supporting autonomous vehicles. Director of DriveOhio, Jim Barna, says that “It's going to be here sooner than we believe.”

Chris Matta, Ohio Turnpike & Infrastructure Commission

• The replacement and resurfacing of roads and bridges takes up 75% of the budget of the Ohio Turnpike & Infrastructure Commission.

• The Ohio Turnpike is well-positioned to be a laboratory for autonomous vehicles. It is 241-mile straight line corridor. Fiber optic is already buried in anticipation of autonomous vehicle service. There are sensors already operating with real-time traffic and weather transmitted to vehicles. Software and data exchange protocols have started. The turnpike is pleased to address the number of accidents on its road and anticipates that autonomous vehicles will reduce accidents and injuries.

Dave Dysard, City of Toledo

• Upcoming projects include the next phase of Bancroft St. rebuild, from Secor Rd. east to Perth St. This area will remain two lanes in each direction. The first phase, from Perth to Parkside, was a “road diet” adding a center lane, bike lanes, and reducing car traffic to one lane in each direction.

• The Cliffs on Front Street is in partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. This will include two roundabouts on the East Side construction site. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has selected the City of Toledo to be the site of a new hot briquetted iron (HBI) manufacturing facility. In a statement, they said, “riverfront property with multi-modal logistics and competitive utility rates were major factors in their location decision. The company will construct a $700 million facility at the Ironville Terminal the Port of Toledo. Cliffs will create 130 new jobs in the manufacturing sector and support 1200 construction jobs over two years.” Read more:

• There will be intense construction in downtown Toledo as state routes are resurfaced and Toledo Waterways Initiative improves sewer separation downtown.

• Bikeway projects in the region will include the Overland Trail, from Ottawa Park to Joe E. Brown Park. It will take a jog through Woodlawn Cemetery, which is an arboretum and bird sanctuary.

• An additional four miles of the Chessie Circle Trail will be paved.

• The downtown Toledo bikeshare project will be completed in 2018. Plans call for a fleet of 100 bikes distributed among 18 stations. There will also be 150 smart technology bike racks. The bikes are 3- or 8-speed models on a step-through frame with built-in keypads that will lock and unlock the bikes. GPS systems will track where the bikes are within the system. TARTA will be in charge of bike maintenance and moving bikes around to keep the stations stocked.

Jim Gee, TARTA
• In a major change affecting downtown traffic patterns and real estate, TARTA plans to eliminate downtown loop lanes and remove the loop bus stations in the area. They are moving operations to the former Goodwill building on Cherry St., which will be re-configured as a central station. Gee says that the station will include better facilities for riders including rest areas and food.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |