Acknowledging that past efforts have failed to curb the phosphorous runoff that fuels algal blooms in Lake Erie, Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled his plan to address the green scourge: pay farmers to reduce runoff, writes Jeremy Pelzer at Cleveland.com. Speaking in Toledo, DeWine also outlined other parts of his $172 million H2Ohio water-quality program, including creating new wetlands, repairing failing septic tanks, and replacing lead drinking-water pipes.
Under the program, farmers who follow a 10-step phosphorus reduction program – which includes steps that crop rotation, slowing water runoff, and minimize the impact of the fertilizers and manure that contain the phosphorous – would receive money from the state on a per-acre basis. The exact amount of money farmers would receive hasn’t been worked out yet, according to DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney.
DeWine said the program will initially be limited to farmers in the Maumee River watershed, which is the primary source of phosphorus that ends up in Lake Erie. Those farmers will be able to enroll in the program in time for next year’s spring planting season, according to a release issued after the governor’s speech.