|| Author: Duncan Riley|

Western Basin Of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement

Initially, the group decided to align the relevant objectives for the lake ecosystem with each of the three main basins of Lake Eriese. Officially, the registration phase of the program for farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana begins this Wednesday, July 1 and continues until July 17. Farmers can register at their local USDA service centre. Information brochures will be distributed to raise awareness of this important multi-year project and to encourage farmers and landowners to participate in the new conservation program. This multinational project includes more than 40 public and private sector organizations that have cooperated, with representations from the states of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, as well as non-profit utilities, universities and private sector companies. These organizations have resources to mobilize $17.5 million in federal funding by providing more than $28 million to phosphorus and sediment reduction programs to improve water quality in western Erie. The province and the federal government have provided $61.2 million over five years to support agricultural organizations and cooperative projects to improve water quality and soil health. The province has also provided $1.8 million for the development of wetland restoration and improvement projects with Ducks Unlimited Canada in the Erie Marine Basin. All we have to show in the last five years of “cleaning up” for Lake Erie is hundreds of millions, if not billions, of taxpayers` money spent on agricultural incentives, partnerships and research.

But there is no plan to do anything serious with regard to agriculture, in which a transformation is needed if the lake is to be restored. Unconventional ideas can be used, such as the return of parts of the Great Black Marsh ohios to its natural state. The state has seen new investments through a large number of other subsidies and nutrient reduction programs in agricultural and urban areas, Lee said. The Maumee River Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Initiative focuses on the use of new agricultural sediment reduction practices, such as saturated tampons and tiles, that retain and reuse nutrients that flow from the soil. The Ohio Department of Agriculture also completed a $3 million project that included soil testing and various combinations of cover crops, drainage structures and fertilizer uses around western Erie. Over the past decade, Lake Erie has shown symptoms of extreme stress due to high levels of phosphorus, which contribute to increased harmful and troublesome algal blooms and low oxygen conditions. These conditions can have a significant economic, social and environmental impact.

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