Just a few weeks after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it was removing northeast Ohio’s Ashtabula River from its list of Areas of Concern, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Leader Frank Lichtkoppler is retiring.
Lichtkoppler, Sea Grant Extension specialist in Lake County, ended his career Sept. 30 after 33 years with Ohio Sea Grant and two prior years as an Extension agent, for a total of 35 years of service. He was a major player in the river cleanup project, which took more than 30 years of work and $75 million in funding from the state of Ohio, the federal government and private sector businesses, said Ohio Sea Grant Director Jeff Reutter, praising Lichtkoppler’s unceasing dedication to the cause.
“It wouldn’t have happened without this really long-term commitment by the Ashtabula River Partnership, and there were very few people who were with it the whole time,” Reutter said. “Frank is one of those key people, often serving as the secretary for the group, the facilitator for the group, the person that organized it and called it together, always trying to deflect leadership, but often serving as the glue to hold it together and keep it moving.”