By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland says there is zero chance that the water from the Western Lake Erie Basin will reach the city of Portsmouth.
“The Great Lakes doesn’t have a lot of water movement,” Sutherland said. “It’s super-clear and that algae grows like crazy. We shouldn’t have any problems.”
Meanwhile, following the city of Toledo’s announcement that it has lifted its drinking water ban, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that Ohio’s joint application with Michigan and Indiana to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin has advanced to the next round for funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
“While the ban has been lifted, our work to ensure safe drinking water has only begun,” Brown said. “I’m pleased to announce that Ohio’s joint application for Farm Bill funds to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin has advanced to the next round. We must incorporate regional, cutting-edge practices to prevent algal blooms and ensure safe drinking water.”
Through the 2014 Farm Bill, Brown helped create the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which provides $1.2 billion over the next five years to promote conservation partnerships that ensure clean soil and water.
USDA has advanced the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative to the next stage of consideration for RCPP funding. This initiative would help implement conservation practices that reduce the flow of phosphorus, which causes algal blooms that comprise water quality. From his seat on the Agriculture Committee, Brown is urging USDA to approve this application.
Brown said he is also urging agricultural producers to apply for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP). EQUIP – funded through the 2014 Farm Bill – provides funds for producers to implement conservation practices – including preventive measures to reduce phosphorus runoff. Applicants can find out more information here and apply for funds at www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.