Everyone benefits from improving the ecosystem that we all share.
It’s encouraging to see farmers partnering with drainage contractors, conservation authorities, municipalities, First Nations, farm organizations, universities and others in a new effort to reduce phosphorus entering the Thames River.
The aim to prevent the growth of toxic algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed that feeds into Lake Erie. The ecosystem of Lake Erie has already taken a hit in recent years with the closure of beaches and a two-day ban on Toledo, Ohio drinking water. Lake St. Clair is also experiencing algal bloom issues.
Called the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative, the group is working to develop new tools, practices and technologies for efficient water management and drainage solutions for urban and agricultural areas. The project is administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities initiative. It is funded in part through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial territorial initiative.
Improving water quality needs ongoing research and support. Over coming years, this project targets a full range of best management agricultural stewardship practices that could include cover crops, alternate phosphorus application processes, crop and field nutrient plans, drainage and water management, buffer strips and conservation tillage.
You can follow this project at www.thamesriverprc.com. You might also want to take a look at these four videos to see what some of the project partners are saying about the phosphorus reduction effort.