Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 29, 2013

Agency seeks tough rules to reduce Lake Erie algae

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — To reach those goals, governments in both countries should require "best management practices" that reduce the amount of phosphorus applied to fields and slow the flow of water to drainage systems, the report says. One step should be to ban spreading manure on frozen or snow-covered ground, it says.

Another proposal would link the cost and availability of government-subsidized crop insurance to farmers' willingness to curb phosphorus runoff.

"The idea is that if you're contributing to pollution, you're going to pay more," Pollack said. "There's really a strong need to change agricultural practices, or else just say you're going to sacrifice Lake Erie."

The report also calls for prohibiting nearly all use of phosphorus fertilizers for lawn care, and for additional study and monitoring of sewage plants and other facilities that discharge into the lake.

The goals are challenging but achievable, said Raj Bejankiwar, a commission scientist who led development of the report.

"Lake Erie was in a worse situation in the '60s and '70s ... and both nations took action and the lake came back," he said. "We've done it before and it's doable now."

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