2024 Water Quality Status Report highlights

Each year, Ohio Farm Bureau releases its Water Quality Status Report. In 2024, the report showcases the impacts being made by Ohio farmers who are taking measures to ensure clean water through voluntary efforts that are being done on a large scale with measurable results. 

This year’s report also features a deep dive into research projects being conducted with the support of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network, a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project and joint partnership between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Here are the highlights.

New report gauges impact of farm-level water quality efforts in Ohio 

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative released the findings of its 2023 Assessment Survey Report on practices farmers in the Sandusky watershed are using to manage water and nutrients. The assessment results show ample conservation efforts, as well as areas for improvement and continued farmer education and resourcing by OACI.

Governor announces statewide open enrollment for H2Ohio 

This spring Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s H2Ohio program would enroll 500,000 acres statewide in the 64 counties outside of the Western Lake Erie Basin. The program incentivizes farmers to implement science-based, proven best management practices to prevent nutrient runoff and improve water quality. A new video series will kick off the benefits of Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans in July.

Adding saturated buffers to field drains offers water quality benefits 

Researchers with the Agricultural and Water Quality Educational Center at Wright State University’s Lake Campus finished a monitoring study of their saturated buffer project in the Grand Lake watershed. This project was funded through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network and involved collaboration with Mercer Soil & Water Conservation District. The effectiveness of the practice shows promise for improving water quality throughout the state, according to Stephen Jacquemin, PhD, biology professor with Wright State University. 

Tracking channel migration and erosion grant 

Stream bank sediment erosion affects stream health negatively through the decline in function and shape of a stream channel, wildlife habitat, riparian zones, turbidity and water quality. A team of researchers at Ohio State University, led by Dr. Asmita Murumkar, Ecosystems Services field specialist with Ohio State University Extension, has initiated a research project to track stream migration and erosion from streams and landscapes in the Blanchard River watershed. 

Five-year pilot watershed project 

Late last summer, farmers, landowners, farm organizations, community members and researchers from different disciplines across four universities began work on a pilot watershed project in the Shallow Run watershed. Working with payment programs H2Ohio and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the pilot watershed project seeks to understand the water quality impacts of nutrient management strategies in real time by linking them with water quality changes in a productive agricultural watershed.

Download the 2024 Water Quality Status Report here or at ohiofarmbureau.org.

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