Eastern Lake Erie

Earlier this summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pegged the severity of the 2020 algal blooms on Lake Erie at a 4.5 on a scale of 10, one of the smaller forecasts in recent years. Final data to calculate the official bloom size won’t be released until later this year, but one researcher says the original guess will be close.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if that is an accurate forecast and that is good to hear,” said Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program. “In a year of travel restrictions, it’s nice to be able to go to a lake, social distance and enjoy that resource.”

That is not to say that all of Lake Erie has been spared from algal blooms. According to Winslow, locations being impacted this year by relatively mild blooms are near the Maumee Bay and on the Michigan shoreline, due to the direction of the wind over the summer months.

Some of this year’s small bloom can be attributed to a drier weather pattern, keeping nutrients in place instead of being washed into the lake from wastewater treatment plants, septic systems and agricultural landscapes after heavy rainfalls. Progress in nutrient management by farmers is also a factor.

“I would say we have made a lot of progress from the agricultural front from one specific perspective and that is the best management practices,” Winslow said. “We are seeing a lot of great data from experiments on the usage of cover crops, tile drainage control structures, buffer strip placements and incorporation of fertilizer.”

With every day that goes by, research shows when one best management practice works and when it doesn’t and which landscapes are better suited for a particular BMP.

“The greatest progress we are seeing is being able to inform farmers which practices are best for them and their farm,” Winslow said. “To get to our goal of a 40% reduction rate of phosphorus entering Lake Erie, we need to have huge adoption rates across the watershed and we aren’t quite there yet.”

Winslow acknowledges that resources in the form of funding are a needed component for farmers to do additional practices for water quality. He said the response rate of farmers that want to be engaged in the H2Ohio initiative and other public private partnerships being formed across the state is a huge step in the right direction.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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