Sunday, March 7, 2021
Tags Posts tagged with "H2Ohio"

Tag: H2Ohio

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a new proposal for the next executive budget for the state Feb. 1, including a $1 billion Investing in Ohio Initiative aimed at helping Ohio’s economy recover from the impact of the pandemic, and investments in H2Ohio, broadband, nutrition and food access and farmland preservation.

Initial payments are going out to farmers enrolled in Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative for improved water quality. The first incentive payments will be distributed to 154 farmers for completed and approved Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans.

The ODNR announced that it will partner with the Medina County Park District to help eliminate toxic algal blooms in Chippewa Lake.

Near the end of the legislative session, Dec. 17, House Bill 7 passed its final vote. As the state approaches the end of the H2Ohio program’s first year, supporters say the bill will create more infrastructure for monitoring and managing those efforts. The bill establishes a State Watershed Planning and Management Program.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources's new Water Quality Incentive Program, part of the H2Ohio initiative, will encourage farmers to take cropland out of production and establish conservation practices.

COVID-19 certainly hasn’t helped water quality work this year, but it hasn’t stopped it, either. Despite budget cuts and social distancing challenges, researchers have still been collecting and testing water samples in and around the lake. But despite a smaller bloom this year, more work is needed to achieve water quality targets.

The H2Ohio program is continuing to face budget challenges due to the pandemic. In the mean time, researchers say solving Lake Erie’s water quality problems will require long-term investments and work to reduce nutrient runoff. And some are suggesting that phosphorus built up in soil, rather than phosphorus from new fertilizer applications, might play a bigger role in those problems than previously thought.

Despite major budget cuts across state agencies, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will have $50 million available for Ohio farmers to improve conservation practices this year, through the H2Ohio initiative.

Between unexpectedly high sign-up numbers, and COVID-19-related budget issues, it appears the H2Ohio funding set aside for farmers this year could shrink.

On March 30, the application deadline for farmers for the H2Ohio program moved back to its original March 31 date, walking back a COVID-19 deadline change.