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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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        A bill that supporters claim will put Ohio on the path to a goal of reducing toxic algae in Lake Erie is heading to the governor’s desk.

        Senate Bill 299, also called the Clean Lake 2020 Plan, last week passed both chambers of the Ohio legislature and will provide about $36 million in additional funding for programs aimed at improving water quality in the lake.

        State Rep. Steve Arndt, R – Port Clinton, sponsored a companion bill in the House of Representatives and Sen. Randy Gardner, R – Bowling Green, sponsored the senate’s version.

        Arndt said about two-thirds of the funding will go to the department of agriculture for programs administered by soil and water conservation districts in the Lake Erie basin and to the Healthy Lake Initiative to reduce open lake disposal of dredged materials. Soil testing, tributary monitoring, agricultural phosphorus reduction and drainage management will be funded, he said

        The balance will be used for new laboratory space at the Ohio Sea Grant/Stone Lab and in-lake monitoring equipment.

        Arndt and Sen. Gardner said the bill drew on the input of environmental groups, academia, businesses and others.

        The U.S. and Canada agreed in 2016 to adopt targets to reduce algae-feeding phosphorus entering Lake Erie by 40 percent.

        By setting the 40 percent target, the countries seek to minimize low oxygen "dead zones" in the lake and keep algal blooms at levels that don’t produce toxins that are a threat to humans or the ecosystem.

       

 

 

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