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Ohio Gov. DeWine releases plan to fight harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie

A cyanobacterial bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has rolled out a comprehensive water quality plan for his state. The plan has been named H2Ohio.

A primary goal of the plan is to prevent harmful algal blooms by reducing phosphorous runoffthat comes from commercial fertilizer and manure. DeWine says this will be achieved by implementing agricultural best practices and the creation of wetlands.

The plan will first focus on reducing runoff into the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie. 

In 2014, the city of Toledo shut down its water supply during a harmful algal bloom.

"The plan is based on science. The plan is based on economics," said DeWine. "It focuses on directing the resources that we have toward specific practices that have been studied and that we know will make a difference."

According to DeWine the state didn't do enough in the past to help farmers reduce phosphorous runoff from their farms. 

He said that changes now with his plan and with an allocation in July of $172 million from the state legislature for the plan.

The plan identifies ten best practices that scientific and economic studies have shown to effectively reduce agricultural phosphorous runoff.

DeWine said the plan will give financial help to farmers who follow data-driven best practices, and the help can come in time for spring 2020 planting.

"We will monitor and track progress, and we will use data," said DeWine. "We will hold people accountable. We will be transparent, and we will have a sense of urgency."

"We have a moral obligation to preserve and protect our natural resources," said DeWine.

DeWine's H2Ohio plan also aims to improve wastewater infrastructure, replace failing home septic systems, and prevent lead contamination.


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