Great Lakes
Harmful algal blooms plague Lake Erie (Eric Albrecht, Columbus Dispatch

OH - More than 50 years after Cleveland's river burned, farmers address quality issues| Opinion

Fred Yoder found that applying nitrogen-infused fertilizer to his fields three times in a growing season instead of all at once helped his crops use the nutrient more efficiently, and less nitrogen ended up in rivers and streams.

Fires in Cleveland helped spark the day of action that we all know as Earth Day back in 1970.

The Cuyahoga River fires were a symbol of our collective failure that could only be changed by collective action.

We have continued to come together every April to celebrate our natural heritage and to improve our communities.


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Earth Day marks a chance to take stock of the environment


Three years ago this month—after years of harmful algal blooms plaguing our critical watersheds—a smart and dedicated team in Ohio took steps that not many other states have done.

Environmental leaders, agricultural leaders, and academia—in concert with our partners at the Ohio Department of Agriculture—came together to work on water quality issues and formed the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative.

The Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative was created with the recognition that water quality challenges are complex and require collective action.

The goals of the organization are to:

  • assess farm practices in Ohio and their relationship to the waters of the state,
  • promote continuous improvement in water quality in Ohio by increasing agriculture’s adoption of best management practices,
  • create a voluntary certification program for farmers implementing these practices.

Adoption of these best management practices will further help farmers to adapt to the ever-changing climate and weather conditions that threaten agriculture production.

Ohio State University — which has offices in all 88 Ohio counties and research stations and field labs across the state — has been involved with the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative since its formation in 2019.

More: Farmers make progress in keeping fertilizers out of Ohio waterways, but much work remains

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