SWCS meeting to focus on water quality

Several Ohio State University Extension experts in soil and water quality, agricultural production practices and nutrient management will present research and facilitate discussion on the issue of managing dissolved reactive phosphorus levels in Ohio’s fresh water bodies during the winter meeting of the All Ohio Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS), Jan. 17 in Reynoldsburg.

“We have a lot of different agencies and organizations working on this issue,” said Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor with OSU Extension and one of the conference’s organizers. “A report of recommendations on how to manage this dissolved phosphorus situation is due to Gov. Kasich in early February, so all of these stakeholders will be represented at this meeting.”

Hoorman said Extension personnel have been involved in the multi-agency working group from its inception, along with experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), among others. Because the recommendations to the governor are anticipated to be in draft form near the time of the SWCS meeting, the report will not yet be available.

Even so, Hoorman anticipated that much of the day’s discussion would center on best management practices likely to be included as part of the final report.

“This meeting will be an opportunity to address a number of our findings, even though the report isn’t out until Feb. 1,” he explained. “The first part of the program is designed to identify why we have this problem, and the last half of the meeting is designed to discuss the practices we’ll need to employ in dealing with this issue.”

Speakers include Extension’s Libby Dayton discussing research on chemical controls of phosphorus in the soil, Jeff Reutter of OSU Sea Grant speaking on the situation in Lake Erie, and Kevin King of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service addressing research conducted in the Big Walnut Creek Watershed related to subsurface drainage systems.

Hoorman said the featured speaker of the day will be Andrew Sharpley of the Univesity of Arkansas, noted as one of the leading experts on phosphorus in the nation. He will discuss the source and transport of dissolved reactive phosphorus, as well as strategies for dealing with dissolved reactive phosphorus in surface water.

The day will conclude with a panel discussion on that subject, moderated by Hoorman and featuring Kevin Elder from ODA, Rick Wilson with Ohio EPA, Kirk Hines of ODNR, and OSU Extension educator Greg LaBarge, who has served as Extension’s key representative to the governor’s working group.

The meeting will take place at ODA’s Bromfield Administration Building in Reynoldsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration, including lunch, is $25 prior to Jan. 10, and $35 thereafter. Registration information can be found online. For more information, contact All Ohio SWCS Treasurer Abbe Copple at 937-483-8581.

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