Ohio State research aiding efforts to help clean up Lake Erie
Dean Kress testimony leads off first meeting of Toward A Cleaner Lake Erie working group
A legislative group aimed at cleaning up Lake Erie is seeking support from The Ohio State University.
The bipartisan Toward a Cleaner Lake Erie Working Group held the first hearing at the Ohio Statehouse Tuesday. Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof and Speaker of the House Ryan Smith launched the working group to study the challenges facing the long-term health of Lake Erie.
Fertilizer and manure runoff has contributed to toxic algal blooms in the lake. Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Cathann Kress testified before the working group about ongoing research at Ohio State to solve the problem.
“The issues in the lake and in Ohio’s inland rivers and streams require a multidisciplinary approach to answering complex issues and wicked challenges,” Kress said.
The issues in the lake and in Ohio’s inland rivers and streams require a multidisciplinary approach to answering complex issues and wicked challenges.
Kress highlighted some of the research underway at Ohio State that is aimed at understanding the causes of the toxic algal blooms, the economic impact and some of the solutions. Kress noted:
- Ohio State was a national leader in developing precision agriculture that includes site-specific management of nutrients with faculty focusing on improving both the placement of nutrients and using them efficiently.
- CFAES faculty and staff are training individual farmers to use the On-Field Ohio tool that helps simulate how their current farm management may lead to phosphorous losses, identify ways to mitigate runoff and identify the cost of that mitigation.
- Researchers are also analyzing the economic and policy issues surrounding harmful algal blooms. Faculty in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics have attempted to quantify the economic impacts of blooms on fishing, tourism and property value.
Ohio Sen. Bob Hackett, co-chairman of the working group, said the health of Lake Erie is critical to the state.
“A healthy Lake Erie is directly tied to the success and health of our state,” Hackett said when the working group was announced. “The members of this group are focused on evaluating the effectiveness of steps we’ve taken so far, as well as making sure we have the best information possible on issues and practices that will help ensure a vibrant lake and clean water for all.”
Kress concluded that finding a solution for the problems facing Lake Erie are at the heart of the university’s mission.
“Those of us at The Ohio State University remain committed to our land-grant university mission and serving the people of our state. We believe the solutions are in the science and implementation of the findings.”