PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Heidi Griesmer
State of Ohio Releases Framework to Reduce Nutrients in Lake Erie Basin
The State of Ohio has released the framework that is being used to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie under the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement, which was signed in June 2015 by Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Michigan and Ontario with a goal of reducing phosphorus loading to Lake Erie by 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.
This framework gives Ohio a jump start on U.S. EPA’s and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s deadline to develop a state Domestic Action Plan required under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement by Feb. 2018.
Action items being implemented focus on prioritizing and assessing watersheds within the western Lake Erie basin; furthering the use of nutrient best management practices in agriculture and at point-source discharges; identifying and fixing failing home septic systems; and improving the coordination of programs and funds being spent in the basin. Since 2011, the State of Ohio has invested more than $2 billion in Ohio’s portion of the Lake Erie Basin for both point source and nonpoint source nutrient reduction and drinking water treatment.
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission will be coordinating the implementation of the framework with Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Each agency will be accountable for implementing their respective areas of authority included in the framework to meet the overall 40 percent reduction.
The adaptive management process is central to the long-term implementation of the framework. This means that water quality monitoring, sampling and nutrient management practices are being developed, evaluated and adjusted as circumstances change in order to meet the goals of the Collaborative. Verification that implemented programs are working to reduce nutrients from entering the lake will be key over time as the state moves towards its goal.
The framework was developed with input from various stakeholder groups and state agencies and is available at epa.ohio.gov/Portals/33/documents/WLEBCollaborative.pdf and on the respective state agency websites.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.