Key actions under this strategy include:
- Engage stakeholders on local and regional scales to increase the understanding of water quality condition and management challenges, nearshore and beach health, and best management practices and policies.
Successful implementation of domestic action plans requires broad support, coordination, and collaboration among agencies, academia, local government, private industry, and citizens. All source and sector groups have a role to play in contributing to our success.
USDA and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation partnered to showcase and demonstrate leading conservation practices through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. In the network, three farmers committed portions of their agricultural land to test both new and standard conservation systems.
Healthy soil with a higher organic content reduces erosion, ameliorates the effects of flood and drought, reduces nutrient and sediment loading to streams and rivers, and may require fewer nutrient inputs. The four key principles to building healthy soils are:
- Minimize soil disturbance through never-till or conservation tillage practices
- Maximize soil cover
- Keep living roots growing as long as possible
- Grow a variety of plants
The Nutrient Stewardship Council will work toward the goal of having 80 percent of farmed acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin under certified management by 2025.
This is a partnership among USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Department of Natural & Applied Sciences, Purdue University's Department of Agronomy, and the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Water Science Centers in New York and Wisconsin. The partners will conduct soil health assessments in conjunction with edge-of-field (EoF) water quality monitoring projects established in the GLRI Priority Watersheds. The long-term goal of the project is to document and help build understanding of the relationships between soil health conservation practices and water quality effects of those. The focus of this project is to establish:
- standardized, in-field soil health monitoring protocols for USGS EoF sites
- to create a robust baseline dataset of soil health at USGS EoF sites
- to connect field-scale soil health parameters with the water quality leaving these fields.