Ohio Department of Agriculture Hosts Indiana and Michigan AG Leaders to Discuss Water Quality

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (March 13, 2024) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) hosted a discussion around water conservation with agricultural leaders from Indiana and Michigan to focus on improving water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB).

ODA Director Brian Baldridge joined Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Don Lamb and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Dr. Tim Boring this week for a Tri-State Water Quality meeting to explore opportunities for collaboration.

The Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed is shared among the three states, covering nearly 7 million acres of land.

“There are no boundaries when it comes to improving water quality,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “This meeting is a real opportunity to align our efforts with Indiana and Michigan in protecting our most valuable resource, water. Our state programs have been at the forefront of the water quality discussion, and we look forward to continuing to share ideas with our neighbors in helping move the needle in the right direction.”

Many of ODA’s conservation efforts are focused in the WLEB through the H2Ohio program. The agency’s part of the initiative reduces phosphorus runoff by incentivizing farmers to implement proven, scientific best management practices. 

After ODA presented an overview of the program, Indiana and Michigan directors shared their proactive approach to protecting water sources.

“Collaboration is key to soil conservation success, especially where all three states’ watersheds feed into the same body of water,” said Don Lamb, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “This meeting brought to light ways we can work together to increase soil conservation efforts while ensuing practices installed are economical for farmers. I am looking forward to future successful partnerships between our states and landowners.”

“Improving water quality is among our highest priorities in Michigan. We’re committed to advancing the science, expanding monitoring activities, and leveraging new approaches such as a focus on soil health,” said Tim Boring, MDARD Director. “These are big complex issues, making collaboration and information exchange all that much more important.”

Discussions continued between the group on how to effectively work together to reduce phosphorus runoff, improve communications, and any shared industry issues.

Future meetings are being planned among the states to address additional topics and continued collaborations.

H2Ohio is Governor DeWine’s statewide water quality initiative designed to address complex issues impacting Ohio’s waters. Launched in 2019, H2Ohio uses a comprehensive approach guided by science and data to reduce algal blooms, stop pollution, and improve access to clean drinking water by supporting best farming practices, road salt runoff reduction, litter cleanup, dam removal, land conservation, and water infrastructure revitalization. For more information visit h2.ohio.gov.

PHOTO (L-R): ISDA Director Don Lamb, ODA Director Brian Baldridge, MDARD Director Dr. Tim Boring

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