From Across the Field – Impairment in the Western Basin

I figure by now everyone has heard or read that Ohio EPA and the Governor’s office have made the decision to include the open waters of the Western Lake Erie Basin on a list of impaired waters of the state due the persistent algae blooms over the past near decade. What does this word “impaired” mean and what will the response be? Two questions that nobody has a clear answer for. Impairment is a federal designation that says that a body of water is either not fit for recreation, drinking, or both. The Chesapeake Bay watershed has been operating under this impaired status for a number of years.

Many groups have been quick to point out that this designation is not a silver bullet in improving the conditions of the WLEB.  Rather the designation marks the formal beginning of corrective action, in addition to that previously legislated in SB 1 and SB 150. Farm Groups have also pointed out that the impairment does not address the phosphorus loading from Ontario, and the timeline of any sort of TMDL implementation could slow down progress already made by agriculture in the watershed. At this point, we are in wait and see mode, as to what if any new legislation or funding will be available to the watershed. I’m predicting that Nutrient Management Plans will become increasing more common language and adoption of best management practices will be important as we move forward with this issue.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Easter Sunday will mark the first of April and hopefully bring with it some warmer weather. There has already been a fair amount of groundwork being done around the area and that will only continue in the coming days as soil begins to dry. As we get closer to planting keep in mind that I like to keep track of planting dates and progress in order to have Henry County conditions represented in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter. Speaking of the newsletter we will be returning to a weekly schedule for that publication as we look to share timely news regarding the growing season.

Lastly, I am finalizing plans for on farm research for the 2018 growing season. We have some standard protocols for seeding rates and nitrogen rate trials. These trials will be included as part of the OSU Precision Ag Team eFields publication that was started in 2017. If there is any interest in participating in on farm research this growing season or have topics that you would like to see addressed in the C.O.R.N. newsletter don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the office in the coming weeks.

I’ll end this week with a quote from Robert Collier, “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” Have a happy Easter weekend.

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