The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force


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Presented Lake Erie Mangement Plan Forum, Sept 2010

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The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force

  1. 1. The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force: Moving Towards Implementation Gail Hesse, Ohio EPA September 10, 2010
  2. 2. Topics Background Findings Recommendations Current Efforts
  3. 3. Microcystis bloom August 2003 Toledo Water Intake
  4. 4. P Task Force Approach Identify all possible sources of DRP Quantify what we can with existing data sources Consult with topical experts Consult peer-reviewed publications peer- Compare relative contributions from possible sources Develop recommendations
  5. 5. Findings Point sources have remained relatively consistent Lawn care – can have localized impact Mussels have altered P cycling – Extent unknown – Processing external sources Transport mechanisms – surface and subsurface drainage – Relative contribution unknown
  6. 6. Sub- Sub-Surface Drainage
  7. 7. Findings Soil nutrient interactions are key to understanding nutrient movement Soil P naturally fluctuates between dissolved and solid forms Soil mineralogy influences solubility Other factors, including nitrogen, may be affecting algal blooms
  8. 8. Findings DRP loadings are driven by runoff events Weather trend changes: higher intensity storms, less snowfall, high winter runoff events Multiple contributors; agriculture is key Need to look at how we manage our P inputs
  9. 9. Phosphorus Inputs Agriculture Biosolids Animal manure Commercial fertilizer Recent Fertilizer P Usage in Lake Erie Basin (tons elemental P) 11,235 tons manure, 27% LEB Commercial P 2,830 tons Fertilizer (2006 Values) 27,320 tons LEB Biosolids Fertilizer biosolids, 7% fertilizer, 66% (2007 Avg. Values) LEB Manure Fertilizer (2007 & 2008 Values)
  10. 10. Trends in Agriculture Overall, nutrient inputs are down – Biosolids, animal manure, commercial fertilizer Larger farms, larger fields and larger equipment – Larger equipment has multiple functions, more year-round operations year- – Larger, heavier equipment may be leading to soil compaction More year-round operations year-
  11. 11. Trends in Agriculture, cont. More fall preparation of seed beds, more fall and winter application Changing methods: more broadcast application without incorporation Unknown and uncertain use of soil tests and adherence with recommendations Changes in soil quality Changes in drainage
  12. 12. 3 Categories of Recommendations Nutrient management field practices Tools to guide application and quantify edge of field runoff potential Research
  13. 13. Recommendations - Practices Push for “Priority Practices” for nutrient management Use innovative approaches to sell these practices Apply adaptive management principles Key issues: – Amount - Incorporation – Timing - Management of field runoff No single practice will result in lower nutrient runoff
  14. 14. Recommendations - Tools Ensure consistent, reliable soil tests and increase the frequency of testing Update screening tools that account for agronomic need and environmental risk USE THE TOOLS – Link soil test results to fertilizer recommendations – Link recommendations to applications – Link nutrient management practices to highly variable conditions
  15. 15. Recommendations - Research Pursue the Research Agenda: field to stream to nearshore to in-lake in- Review new information, monitor progress, course correct as necessary
  16. 16. Current Efforts Research projects currently funded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, USEPA and other projects of the Millennium Network GLRI: Variable Rate Technology NRCS work group evaluating the P Index Nutrient water quality standards under development USEPA – Region 5 is requesting states to develop state nutrient strategies
  17. 17. Factors for Consideration Understand relative contributions for major river basins Focus on any reduction….or the major contributors? Focus on geographic areas….or the major contributors? Strategies need to fit the issues in any given basin
  18. 18. Click: Phosphorus Task Force Click: Grand Lake St. Marys Algal Bloom Update