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Ohio EPA proposes designating western Lake Erie Basin impaired

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to designate the Western Lake Erie Basin impaired.

Lake Erie’s Western Basin, from the Michigan/Ohio state line to the Marblehead Lighthouse, would be impaired for recreation due to harmful algae and drinking water due to microcystin. This is the first time such a designation has been made.

The decision comes after Ohio’s administration requested input from university researchers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. EPA.

Ohio Farm Bureau Vice President Adam Sharp says the decision will not have an immediate impact on farmers or the lake’s water quality.

Although Ohio Farm Bureau has never opposed the designation, it has promoted the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement as the preferred plan for improving water. The agreement aims to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent by 2025.

the Ohio Soybean Association says farmers are already working hard to protect Lake Erie and the decision would only trigger additional federal dollars and duplicate regulations that are already in place

Ohio EPA will present a webinar on the draft impaired waters list on April 25.

The Ohio EPA proposed declaring Lake Erie’s Western Basin impaired in a draft of its 2018 water quality report. The report outlines conditions of Ohio’s waters and identifies impaired waters that are not meeting federal or state water quality goals and waters that have improved.

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