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Protecting Ohio's Water Quality through Sustainable Farming Practices

Farming practices are a major contributor to the algal blooms seen in lakes throughout Ohio, including Grand Lake St. Mary’s. Algae-contaminated water is a threat to human and animal health. The Ohio EPA has advised people to avoid contact with affected water, including swimming, boating, fishing, and irrigation. An algal bloom outbreak in Lake Erie last summer left nearly a half million Toledo area residents without drinking water, underscoring the urgency of the problem.

Manure and phosphorus fertilizers that wash off farm fields and into waterways are the most significant sources of the "blooms" of toxic algae. When these nutrients escape farm fields and end up in the water, they provide an ideal medium for the growth of toxic algae.

Without significant policy changes that recognize the need to approach farming as a biological system, water, recreational lakes, and waterways will continue to be jeopardized; businesses will continue to be economically harmed, and taxpayers will continue footing an ever-more expensive bill to make the water safe.

In February, the Ohio Senate introduced
SB 1 and the House introduced HB 61. Both of these bills include prohibitions on spreading manure or fertilizer on frozen, or saturated soil and under certain weather conditions in Lake Erie’s western basin.

OEFFA supports the adoption of organic management practices to safeguard Ohio’s natural resources including water quality.

What practices do you use that safeguard water quality in your community?
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More Resources

Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District Nutrient Management Toolkit
Ohio State University Ohio Nutrient Education and Management
Purdue Research Foundation Manure Management Planner
International Joint Commission Reports

The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, contact policy@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.

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