Ohio agencies will spend the next year examining hotspots contributing to Lake Erie's algae blooms and developing a monitoring network.
The work is part of the state's newly-released strategy to combat the problem. Ohio, Michigan and Ontario signed a deal in 2015 to reduce the phosphorus runoff feeding the algae by 40 percent. Ohio's plan calls for identifying priority watersheds and developing reduction targets. The state also will try to find ways to cut phosphorus discharges at 30 wastewater treatment plants. Environmentalists say the plan relies too heavily on voluntary compliance. Meanwhile, Ohio State University researchers are testing different strategies to reduce phosphorus discharges from farms. The school says farmers should apply fertilizer below the soil surface and plant cover crops and buffer strips. Researchers now want to design some field tests. Cost estimates on matching current adoption practices to the necessary levels are expected by March. Researchers say Ohioans have indicated they're willing to use tax money to combat algae blooms.