Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ohio ramps up phosphorous control

Farmers in Ohio state are being urged to step up their efforts to keep phosphorous out of Lake Erie.

The University of Ohio says three things help – planting and maintaining buffer strips along waterways, burying fertilizers and planting cover crops.

They found that 39 per cent of farmers in the Lake Erie watershed are putting fertilizers below the surface, 22 per cent plant cover crops and 35 per cent maintain buffer strips.

But that needs to increase by 20 per cent if Ohio’s farmers are to do their part to cut phosphorous runoff into the Lake Erie by 40 per cent, the researchers say.

That’s the goal set this year by leaders from Canada and the United States who reached a new agreement under the International Joint Commission overseeing waterways the two countries share.

"A lot of farmers have already taken the risk ... to help move the needle," said Jay Martin, project leader and director of the university's Field to Faucet water quality program. "That's really encouraging. But we need to accelerate."

Ontario is also ramping up its phosphorous-containment programs which include more manure storage, nutrient management planning and joint federal-provincial-municipal initiatives and subsidies.