Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued a new executive order on nutrient management and Lake Erie water quality – targeted in the western basin of the lake – on July 11. You can read the governor’s executive order here and view an administration fact sheet here.
“We’ve done a lot to ensure the health of Lake Erie, Ohio’s crown jewel, including investments of more $3 billion since 2011 to improve water quality in the lake and its watershed,” Gov. Kasich said. “But it’s clear that more aggressive action is needed, especially to reduce or eliminate the algae blooms that have marred the western basin for years. This executive order is intended to kick those efforts into overdrive.”
The executive order signed by Gov. Kasich today targets eight watersheds in the western basin of Lake Erie that will be considered for designation under state law as “Watersheds in Distress,” based on their high nutrient levels, especially phosphorous from agricultural runoff. Named in the governor’s executive order are all or portions of the following watersheds:
- Platter Creek
- Little Flat Rock Creek
- Little Auglaize River
- Eagle Creek
- Auglaize River
- Blanchard River
- St. Marys River
- Ottawa River
Statement from Ohio Farmers Union President Joe Logan:
”Governor Kasich’s Executive Order may be well-intended, but it also seems to be a very tentative action that shifts the initiative to a broad, complex network of state agencies and commissions. Should those agencies and commissions decide to take aggressive action, the implications for farmers and for Lake Erie’s water quality could be profound.
“Whatever the eventual outcome, the process will be long and involved.
“The proposed menu of possible rules and regulations are good agricultural policy (nutrient management planning), yet farmers, like all citizens resist being told how they must conduct their affairs.
“Eventually, Lake Erie may express her own opinion on the urgency for needed action. When and If that happens, the governor, legislature or agency heads may need to face the need for adopting more straightforward actions such as common sense limitations on application rates for manure and fertilizer.
”Concepts like the “agronomic rate” application rate limits could be useful and effective. We urge the governor and legislature to consider their adoption.”