Plan to fight harmful algal blooms released

SANDUSKY — The Ohio EPA has released its plan for curbing nutrient pollution in Lake Erie, a key to reducing the size of the lake's harmful algal blooms.

The Ohio Environmental Council says the plan falls short of what's needed and that mandatory regulations need to be imposed on Ohio farms to curb Ohio algal blooms.

Ohio has signed an agreement with Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario to reduce the amount of phosphorus in Lake Erie by 20 percent by 2020, and by 40 percent by 2025. Scientists said such a reduction would help scale back harmful algal blooms, which can produce toxins that threaten water supplies for coastal cities...
Kristy Meyer, managing director of natural resources for the Ohio Environmental Council, said the plan isn't tough enough.

“We are happy to see Ohio follow through on its commitment to develop a plan to address toxic algae,” Meyer said. “Unfortunately, this long overdue plan does not rein in agricultural pollution, which is the main cause of toxic algae.”

Meyer told the Register Thursday that her group believes medium and large corporate farms should be required to adopt pollution control plans mandating that only necessary amounts of manure or fertilizer will be put into the soil.

There should be audits to make sure the plans are being followed and enforcement when problems are found, Meyer said.

"This isn't going to kill farming," Meyer said.

She said saving the lake is important to the state's economy. That’s because the lake is a huge factor in Ohio tourism as well as being a main source for drinking water.

Date Published: 

Thursday, February 9, 2017