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Save the hellbenders

Jefferson County commissioners signed a resolution of support for the Clean Ohio application for hellbenders during their meeting on Friday.

Jefferson County commissioners signed a resolution of support for the Clean Ohio application for hellbenders during their meeting on Friday.

A hellbender is a salamander on the Ohio endangered species list. The greatest population of hellbenders is in Jefferson County.

If the Clean Ohio application, which is being submitted by the Jefferson County Soil and Water, is approved the tax payer funded grant money totaling $2.4 million would be heading to Jefferson County and its wetlands, which total 412 acres in Cross Creek, Wayne Township and a small portion in Harrison County.

"It's really about save the hellbenders, which is a state-endangered species. It's a large salamander as a side benefit it's really going to benefit all the people of Jefferson County because we're going to have classrooms for the universities and the schools, elementary and high school as well as a hiking and biking trail that's on the old rail corridor that goes through there, so it will be a nice connection for people to go out there," said Aaron Dodds, watershed coordinator, Jefferson County Soil and Water.

A response to the grant request is expected to be received in mid-March.

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