David Miller, July 11, 2018
Columbus, Ohio — Today, Governor Kasich signed an executive order that directs portions of the Maumee River Basin be considered watersheds in distress due to high phosphorus levels.
Speaking today at the Governor’s press conference at the Statehouse, Ohio Environmental Council Executive Director Heather Taylor-Miesle said that, “today’s action is the first step in what we hope will be an open, transparent, comprehensive process coupled with robust funding for those on the ground to make the transition to a cleaner Lake Erie that is good for our environment, the health of our people, and our economy.”
The executive order denotes Platter Creek Watershed, Little Flat Rock Creek Watershed, Little Auglaize River Watershed, Eagle Creek Watershed, the Auglaize River watershed, the Blanchard River watershed, the St. Mary’s River watershed and the Ottawa River watershed as in distress.
Pending approval from the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the rules recommended for agricultural operations in these watersheds would require nutrient management plans be developed among other measures.
“Solutions to toxic algae reduction will be complex and multi-faceted,” said Taylor-Miesle. “They will require creative thinking, a lot of trust building, and real dollars so that we can balance the needs of our environment and health with those of the agricultural industry as they try to feed the nation.”
“This executive order needs to be a launching pad to put Lake Erie on track,” said Peter Bucher, Water Resources Director at the Ohio Environmental Council. “Targeting efforts to these watersheds will help make the biggest impact with limited resources. The OEC looks forward to working with stakeholders across Ohio to find a solution that will finally give us a healthy, prosperous Lake Erie watershed.”
The proposed rules for these watersheds take effect pending the approval of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission.