Ohio Water Quality

The 2024 algal bloom is expected to have a severity index of 5, according to the final forecast from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA). This forecast, based on a 1 to 10 scale, uses an ensemble of different models, which consider phosphorus loading into Lake Erie during the spring and early summer.

The mainly wet weather pattern in early spring caused the flow of water systems within the Western Lake Erie Basin to be above normal in March and April, creating what is considered a  “mildly severe” algal bloom forecast by NOAA.

“It’s important to note that more of the heavier spring rainfalls occurred well before nutrients were applied to farm fields for the 2024 growing season,” said Jordan Hoewischer, director of water quality research with Ohio Farm Bureau. “It will be interesting to see how the bloom acts in the heart of summer, and if the bloom is above the range of past years, we have to really assess the data and learn more about where the nutrient load is coming from.”

Hoewischer said the timing of the rains, planting season and applications of fertilizer this spring should emphasize the importance of the use of cover crops, one of the programs farmers are utilizing through H2Ohio, to keep nutrients and soil in place throughout the year.

The latest reports from the Lake Erie Commission show a consistent downward trend of dissolved reactive phosphorus loading into the Western Lake Erie Basin since 2015.

“To be able to realize success in reducing nutrient loss over the past 10 years despite the challenge of increasing heavy rainfall events is no small feat,” Hoewischer said. “Ohio agriculture has proven its role in improving water quality, but there is plenty of work left to do. Farmers should consult their local Soil & Water districts and consider H2Ohio about all of the options available to them to continue to protect the soil on the farm and the water heading downstream.”

With the expansion of the H2Ohio water quality initiative throughout the entire state, along with the growth of the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative certification program, both designed to help farmers find more and better nutrient management practices, efforts will continue to advance across Ohio to create positive results for clean water.

NOAA will release the final algal bloom statistics for 2024 in September.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ohiofarmbureau.org.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].

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

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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
The plan we are on is great. It’s comparable to my previous job's plan, and we are a sole proprietor.
Kevin Holy's avatar
Kevin Holy

Geauga County Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan
We work terrifically with the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau, hosting at least one to two outreach town hall events every year to educate new farmers and existing farmers on traditional CAUV and woodlands.
David Thomas's avatar
David Thomas

Ashtabula County Auditor

CAUV: Past, present and future
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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
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
Suggested Tags: