Are we concerned about those rivers that feed into the watershed, like the Blanchard River? What steps are being taken to ensure phosphorus and sediment are being reduced from those sources?
Federal, state and local agencies are very concerned about all the watersheds that feed into Lake Erie. That is where nutrients and sediments originate and that is where solutions will be applied to reduce and mitigate the problem. Numerous steps are underway to reduce non point pollutants from these sources. USDA is investing additional dollars in these watersheds to help farmers with the cost of applying the needed conservation practices. USDA, Ohio State University Extension, Agricultural Research Service, EPA and the regions Colleges and Universities are funding research into the nutrient problems and finding solutions. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts based in each county focus most of their program efforts on education, demonstrations and direct assistance to inform and assist land users in implementing practices and technologies that help reduce sediment and nutrient runoff. Many farmers and agribusiness are adopting conservation practices to better apply and utilize nutrients so that less need to be applied the land within the watershed. The Scotts Company, a major producer of lawn fertilizers, is eliminating phosphorous from its lawn fertilizer products.
While much is being done, the problem is large, the solutions complicated, and the land area involved is vast, so much more will be needed. Large numbers of land users will need to be educated and taught better ways that impact the watershed less, so there is still much left to do to solve the problem.
Steve Davis, USDA-NRCS