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Ohio Algal Bloom Legislation First Step to Protecting Lake Erie

"Much work remains to be done to protect Ohio's waterways, especially Lake Erie."

Today the Ohio Legislature passed legislation intended to help curb harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie by limiting the application of fertilizer and manure on frozen or saturated ground.

Commenting on the legislation, Mike Shriberg, Ph.D., regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, said:

“The Ohio House took an initial step today to address the problem of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The legislation partially bans a practice that provides nutrients which fuel the growth of algae: applying fertilizer and manure to frozen and saturated soil. However, much work remains to be done to protect Ohio’s waterways, especially Lake Erie.

“The science is clear: phosphorus needs to be cut by at least 40 percent—and that level of reduction will not be achieved by this bill alone. If public officials in Ohio want to put an end to harmful algal blooms like the one last summer that left more than 400,000 people in Toledo without access to safe drinking water, then they must act swiftly to make this bill part of a larger suite of protections to curb farm runoff and other sources of phosphorus.

“The millions of people who depend on Lake Erie and Ohio waters for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life deserve to know that Ohio’s elected officials are in this for the long haul and that this bill is a first step, not the last word, in protecting Lake Erie. The National Wildlife Federation remains committed to working with Ohio’s public officials, including Governor Kasich, and using this bill as a catalyst to advance more powerful solutions to put an end to harmful algal blooms once and for all.”

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