USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest an additional $5 million to help Ohio, Michigan and Indiana improve water quality in the western Lake Erie basin. These investments will enable the region’s farmers to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the watershed, one of the sources of disruptive algae blooms.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the targeted funding will allow for solutions to be expanded and delivered more quickly. “A problem as complex as this one will demand wide attention, from agriculture to municipalities, and we will continue to work with the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership and other partners across the region to find common ground to address water quality issues in the basin,” said Vilsack.
The funding will allow NRCS to help farmers apply selected conservation practices shown to help water quality, such as planting cover crops, adding gypsum to soil, implementing conservation tillage or no-till systems on crop fields, installing agricultural drainage water management systems, and implementing nutrient management plans. On average, farmers and ranchers contribute half the cost of implementing conservation practices.