Watch: What people mean to water mean to fish

CFAES scientist Suzanne Gray explains her research connecting water quality, aquatic diversity and human activities in the video above. It’s her lightning-round talk (6:36) from CFAES’s Annual Research Conference. How do fish — from bluegills in the Scioto River, to walleyes in western Lake Erie, to cichlids in the Nile River basin — respond to rapid changes in their water caused by people?

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Watch: Working with Ohio’s farmers to use and improve watershed models

CFAES’s 2018 Annual Research Conference, held on the Wooster campus on April 27, featured keynote presentations by researchers from Iowa and Arkansas; a panel discussion featuring stakeholders from Ohio’s agricultural community; updates by CFAES leaders; and eight fast-paced lightning-round talks by CFAES scientists — good examples of the many ways that CFAES is working to improve water quality, while also securing its food production.

Margaret Kalcic of CFAES’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering was one of those lightning-round speakers. Her lab, according to its website, works “to provide producers in the western Lake Erie watersheds, as well as their advisors, information that encourages adoption of appropriate conservation measures to tackle Lake Erie’s nutrient goals.”

You can watch her (short!) presentation in the video above.

This could be the No. 1 way to keep phosphorus out of Lake Erie

The cheapest, most cost-effective way to reduce the phosphorus getting into Lake Erie is by taxing farmers on their purchase of the nutrient or by paying them not to use it on their fields. That’s according to a study by Shaohui Tang and Brent Sohngen, both of CFAES’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.

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They’re seeing if toxins from Lake Erie algae get into food you might eat

Do toxins from Lake Erie algal blooms get into Lake Erie fish you might eat? What about vegetables that growers watered with water they pulled from the lake? Scientists with CFAES, funded by Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, are helping find answers.

FAQ on Lake Erie impairment designation

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s draft 2018 water quality report, released yesterday, includes a proposal to designate western Lake Erie as impaired for recreation (due to harmful algal blooms) and for drinking water (due to the microcystin toxin that is sometimes produced by those blooms). Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab programs today published an FAQ about the designation to help answer people’s questions.

Good for both farming, Lake Erie

“We’re trying to find solutions to move the health of Lake Erie in the right direction, but at the same time, keep the ag industry vibrant,” said Chris Winslow, director of Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory programs, quoted in a March 16 story in the Port Clinton News Herald. He was speaking at the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual Agricultural Community Breakfast on March 15, and was referring to the issue of agricultural phosphorus runoff, a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other water bodies. Scientists with Ohio Sea Grant, CFAES, and other agencies and institutions are working to find ways to reduce that runoff.