East Fork Lake Farmers Can Sign Up for Conservation Funding

OWENSVILLE, Ohio (May 27, 2015) – Farmers with fields in the East Fork Lake watershed may now sign up for financial assistance to set up conservation practices to keep sediments and nutrients on farm fields and out of the lake. Since 2012, East Fork Lake has experienced worsening problems with harmful algal blooms thought to be caused by excess nutrients – mainly nitrogen and phosphorus – that come from agricultural fields as well as failing septic systems, wastewater treatment plants and urban runoff.

In January 2015, the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded a five-year, $600,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to help reduce nutrient loadings through agricultural conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, nutrient management and more.

“For several years, Clermont SWCD and its partners in the East Fork Watershed Cooperative have been working with farmers to install these conservation practices, and the cooperation we have received from the farmers have been tremendous,” said John McManus, Administrator for Clermont SWCD. “I think this grant is a reflection of the dedication of the farmers and the support of the Cooperative.  I believe we received this grant because of these partnerships.”

Lori Lenhart, District Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said, “Along with the more traditional conservation practices, we have added gypsum application as an option under this grant. Gypsum helps aggregate the soil, which allows rainwater to move into the soil better. This in turn helps reduce erosion and the runoff of sediments and phosphorus. The calcium in gypsum also binds strongly with phosphorus, reducing chances of runoff and increasing uptake by the growing crop.”

Any farmer within the East Fork Lake watershed who is interested in participating in this program should contact Lori Lenhart at 513-732-2181 ext. 102, or at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.  The deadline to submit an application for funding is Friday, July 17.

About the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District:
Established in 1943, the District works with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and farmers to control erosion, promote water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural working lands. The district provides technical assistance, grants and cost share funding, educational programming and other resources to urban, rural and suburban landowners to help them address a diverse range of local conservation issues. For more information, visitwww.clermontswcd.org or call 513-732-7075.

(Photo: Cover crop on farm field in Clermont County.)

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