Adam Rissien, July 10, 2015
“The toxic algae season forecasted today by NOAA shows we are in for one that is much more severe than 2014, primarily because the Maumee River basin had its wettest June on record. This caused the phosphorus levels to spike putting the forecast at 8.7 out of 10 on the severity index.
“Safe drinking water and safe beaches cannot be held hostage by the whims of the weather. Nutrients, specifically phosphorus, need to stay in the ground to grow crops and out of our water where it feeds toxic algae.
“That means farmers should only apply the amount of nutrients crops actually need to grow, which requires testing the soil and matching application rates to what the crops need. It also means developing and following a plan that includes specific best management practices tailored to each farm so the nutrients stay in the field.
“The good news is we heard today of several efforts to help farmers adopt good practices, including one from the Ohio State University Department of Higher Education that will create a Best Management Practices handbook to help farmers select those most appropriate for their fields. Also, farmers have until July 17th to apply for financial assistance to help implement conservation practices through the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative.”