Grand Lake St. Marys receives additional conservation funds

COLUMBUS — The Grand Lake St. Marys watershed has received national attention by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to address the critical water quality issues facing residents in the watershed.

NRCS Chief Dave White recently provided the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed with an additional $1 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for conservation in the watershed,.

Waiting list

State Conservationist Terry Cosby said “there is a sizable waiting list of producers with high quality EQIP applications in the watershed; those that result in the greatest conservation benefit will be chosen for funding.”

A healthy lake is important to the economic activity surrounding its use, and for quality of life.

“A healthy Grand Lake St. Marys is critical to Ohio’s prosperity — and achieving this goal requires a comprehensive strategy,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, adding that a better lake will mean good things for the recreation, boating and tourism industry.

The watershed lies in Congressman John Boehner’s 8th Congressional District.

“I am committed to the continued expansion of conservation practices in and around Grand Lake St. Marys, and I’m pleased the Department of Agriculture has made this decision,” he said. “While I know it will take years to tackle all of the issues, improving water quality is important, and it will play a significant role in shaping the economic future of the region.”

Good start

On the ground in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed, conservation measures impacted by the weather seem to be doing well. Plant growth is ahead of schedule due to the unusually mild winter and spring, according to Steve McDevitt, an NRCS conservation planner working with producers in the watershed.

More farmers will now have a chance to take advantage of the financial and technical assistance offered through EQIP to plant cover crops, build manure storage facilities, put in filter strips and complete other conservation measures that keep phosphorus out of waterways.

Too much phosphorus in the lake has been identified as one of the factors causing harmful algal blooms.

6 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    What a joke. What happened to farmers being the leaders in the community by always doing what is right and leading by example? I came from a family of farmers and they always preached about being good land stewards. The Farmers in Grand Lake St. Marys do not act like the farming community that I grew up with that is for sure. These farmers have known for decades that their farming practices were impacting the evironment, specifically the water quality of the lake. But they have used excuses after excuses not to do anything. My favorite excuse was it was the geese and ducks fault why the lake was in such bad condition. I guess in their mind Grand Lake was the only lake to have geese and ducks. The only reason Farmers are starting to step up now is because they are being forced to do so and the government is giving them millions and millions of dollars to do what is right. What a waste of money.

  2. Dan says:

    I suggest you check out who the leaders are in the ag community in the GLSM area. Here are stories of the farmers doing more than required by law to protect the environment. This is just one of the featured farmers in the watershed making a difference.

    http://clydeenterprise.com/columnists/matt-reese/brownhaven-dairy-farm-being-a-good-neighbor/

    http://www.ohiodairyfarmers.com/DairyFamilies/Brown.aspx

    http://www.dailystandard.com/archive/story_single.php?rec_id=15946

    http://ourohio.org/magazine/issues—2012/march-april-2012/meet-lou-brown/

  3. Chris Kick says:

    Here are some additional articles where farmers are making a difference that we printed in our own paper. Many are currently using voluntary measures to control and improve the issue, and are fighting a new battle, increased levels of dissolved phosphorous. Farmers are also working with their local soil and water conservation districts, in addition to Ohio State University Extension, and local watershed councils.

    This one which stands out: Ohio farmers battle sedimentation, nutrient runoff in creative ways: http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/ohio-farmers-battle-sedimentation-nutrient-runoff-in-creative-ways/31685.html

    And then there’s a host of others: http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/ohio-pennsylvania-big-recipients-of-usda-biodigester-funds/31266.html

    http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/quasar-gets-1-million-grant-for-anaerobic-digester-project-at-impaired-ohio-lake/28719.html

    http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/at-farm-science-review-ohio-farms-honored-for-conservation-work-officials-say-more-is-needed/29963.html

    http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/cash-for-manure-workshop-looks-at-ways-to-clean-up-watershed/21497.html

    http://www.farmanddairy.com/columns/water-quality-not-quite-but-almost-rocket-science/21038.html

  4. Matt says:

    First off, I didn’t mean to imply that there wasn’t good actions being done by Farmers in the watershed. And I never said any laws or rules were broken, however that doesn’t mean people haven’t known for decades what was going on. I think it’s great that you can link a bunch of articles about the farming community stepping up to the plate, I could do the same with thousands of articles how the farmers are the ones causing the problems. I guess I do not see the point. I would challenge you to find articles before the lake was shutdown in 2009 that farmers were stepping up to help, because I know I can find a bunch talking about what was causing the degradation in the lake.
    After the government has given the watershed 6 million dollars over the last few years (not counting the 1 million just awarded) I would sure hope there would be articles about the changes that the farmers are making.
    You say “Many are currently using voluntary measures to control and improve the issue” I agree, but if the new laws weren’t going to go into place starting in January and the Government was handing out 7 million dollars do you really think people in the watershed would be making the effort? The past 50 years of history has shown that would not be the case.

    I am extremely happy that there are changes going on in the watershed. But why did it take for a lake to be shutdown, people to get sick, animal deaths, new laws for Farmers to be implemented, and 7 million dollars for the Farming Community to step up?

  5. Matt says:

    The one article link you posted was written by Susan Crowell. Thanks for posting that link because you help make my point. From the article:
    LONDON, Ohio — Recognizing Ohio’s top conservation farm families seemed particularly significant during this year’s awards ceremony at the Farm Science Review Sept. 22. That’s because more than one official who spoke warned of impending environmental regulations if the farming community doesn’t step up to the plate voluntarily.

    Obviously the Farming community must not be stepping up enough if farm officials are stating more people need to “step up to the plate voluntarily.” Thanks for helping prove my point. The community around Grand Lake didn’t step up and that is why there are new laws in place.

  6. Debi says:

    I am so sad about Grand Lake. I came there with my family when I was just 5 years old.(now almost 60) It was always my favorite close to home get-away. we started bringing our kids there and their kids, but the last few years have been just too risky. Without the lake there is nothing, and Celina will no longer be one of the top 100 small towns, it will no longer be! If I ever get rich or win the lotto I will do my part in cleaning up the lake!

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