Associated Press, GoErie.com
TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio is taking its biggest step yet toward tackling the algae fouling Lake Erie.
But there’s no guarantee it will cut down on contaminants feeding the algae or slow its spread, which poses a threat to the fish, drinking water and tourism. And it will take several years to determine whether the new rules focusing on farmers will make a difference.
The law will require most farmers to undergo training before they use commercial fertilizers.
The goal is to decrease the amount of phosphorus-based fertilizer that runs off fields into streams and rivers and then nourishes the algae in Lake Erie.
“It’s a positive step forward, but it’s a small step,” said Kristen Kubitza, director of water policy for the Ohio Environmental Council.
The law doesn’t take effect until 2017 and won’t force less fertilizer use.
The primary focus is on educating and training the agriculture industry about the need to use new techniques to reduce runoff.
Farm organizations have put $1 million toward research to determine how to keep phosphorus on the fields and out of the waterways. It will help teach farmers the best times and ways to apply fertilizer.