Ohio farmers next month will be able to tap $30 million in funding being made available to reduce agricultural phosphorus runoff and prevent algal blooms in Lake Erie, under a plan announced this week.
The money will be awarded as part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio plan. Starting Feb. 1 farmers living in the following 14 northwest Ohio counties will be eligible to apply for funds at their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts: Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood.
H2Ohio will fund investments in 10 scientifically proven interventions to reduce nutrient runoff from agriculture, which is the primary cause for algal blooms in Lake Erie and elsewhere. Algal blooms can threaten drinking water and impact the health of both people and animals.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture, in partnership with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, will host informational meetings next month to outline the application process, explain the H2Ohio certification process, and answer questions. Farmers living in any of the 14 qualifying counties are welcome to attend any of the following meetings:
The H2Ohio phosphorus reduction plan will focus first on reducing runoff into the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie but will eventually be offered to other parts of the state.
The $30 million announced this week is part of an overall $85 million provided by the Ohio General Assembly for H2Ohio in the first year of the biennium. The remaining first-year funds will focus on reducing phosphorus runoff through the creation of wetlands, as well as on improving water quality by preventing lead contamination and addressing failing septic systems.
H2Ohio is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Lake Erie Commission, and a broad coalition of agriculture, education, research, conservation, and environmental partners. For more information, visit h2.ohio.gov.