New year, same focus on water quality

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Welcome 2015! I hope you all had a happy and safe New Year’s.

New Year’s is always an interesting day to me. For some, we can’t get the year over quick enough, while others want it to last forever. We start our resolutions with such confidence, yet many don’t last past January.

The New Year is a time for us to reflect upon the negative and positive of the previous year. What will we do differently this year?

For those of us working in the Soil and Water Conservation District world, there is always optimism that we can make a difference.

While many negative things have been attached to agriculture and water quality this past year, we need to also reflect upon the positive. We have made tremendous strides in reducing the impact of phosphorus in our streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.

Educating producers

Great efforts have been made to help educate producers and the general public of nutrient issues affecting our waters of the state. Agriculture is not the only player.

Nutrient loads also are affected by wildlife, lawn care chemicals, industrial discharges, treatment plants, septic systems and sewage application.

We still have much work ahead of us in 2015.

It is also important to note that if the phosphorus tap were completely turned off now, there are still nutrients found in our waters attached to sediment from years ago and will stay there for years to follow.

Water quality is affected by so many things. Some of these factors include: The amount of sediment already there, temperature of the water, inflow and outflow of water, and the biology of the streams, ponds and lakes.

Wise management

We continue to learn more and more about the dynamics of our aquatic ecosystems and how our daily activities can affect them.

As we go through this winter and approaching spring, it is our responsibility to make wise management decisions.

Take the information that has been gained and be good stewards of our valuable resources.

For livestock and grain producers, remember the 4R’s. Apply manure and fertilizer at the right rate, source, time and the right place.

Urban and rural landowners also need to take care when fertilizing lawns and gardens. Maintain septic systems and be cautious of detergents and chemicals that could get to our waters of the state and cause negative impacts on our water quality.

This is not an issue to be addressed by a single person or group.

Everyone involved

Taking care of our environment and resources requires the effort of everyone.

I am optimistic that if we can get back to working together as a community with continued communication and cooperation, we can make a difference.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” — Socrates.

I hope 2015 is peaceful, productive and prosperous for all.

 

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Cathy Berg, Program Administrator for the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District for 15 past years. Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University. Major in Agronomy with soils specialization and a minor in Natural Resources Management.

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