2015 Briefing & Webinar Recaps: Water Data to Answer Urgent Water Policy Questions: Harmful Algal Blooms, Agriculture & Lake Erie

July 30, 2015 Technical Webinar Summarizing Lake Erie Nutrient Case Study

Elin Betanzo, Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute, presented findings from the NEMWI study evaluating water quality data in the Lake Erie drainage basin to the Nutrients Annex 4 Subcommittee for the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement on July 30, 2015.  The study identifies the water quality data needed to detect statistically significant reductions in nutrient loads and concentrations at the watershed scale, water monitoring sites that are currently collecting the needed water data, and data gaps for measuring the effectiveness of agricultural management practices to reduce nutrient input into the Lake Erie drainage basin. The Annex 4 Subcommittee is considering monitoring and implementation strategies for tracking progress toward proposed 40% phosphorus reduction goals for Lake Erie.

A recording of the July 30, 2015 webinar is available here.  The report files are available here.

July 14, 2105 Capitol Hill Briefing

Following the relenutrient briefingase of the Institute’s study on water quality monitoring in the Lake Erie drainage basin, NEMWI hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on July 14, 2015 in the Capitol Visitor Center. Elin Betanzo, Senior Policy Analyst at NEMWI and lead author of the study, provided an overview of the study’s findings and recommendations for improving water quality monitoring in the Lake Erie drainage basin. Larry Antosch of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Lana Pollack of the International Joint Commission joined the briefing to share their perspectives on the study and water data needs for Lake Erie.

The speakers agreed that efficient, effective, and coordinated monitoring is essential for evaluating agricultural management practices to improve the health of Lake Erie. Important recommendations from the study include:

  • Locate new small watershed monitoring sites and conservation incentive areas in unmonitored high priority watersheds.
  • Identify modifications to existing water monitoring and conservation incentive programs that allow for the most efficient use of small watershed monitoring resources. A coordinating entity should lead this collaborative planning process enlisting both water monitoring and agriculture organizations.
  • For both existing and new water quality monitoring sites, maintain sampling for a minimum of ten years after new agricultural management practices are installed to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing nutrient loading.
  • Substantially increase the use of agricultural management practices to generate statistically significant nutrient load reductions at both small and large watershed scales in the Lake Erie drainage basin.
  • Ensure access to management practice implementation and land use data in monitored watersheds to quantify the relationship between these practices and water quality trends.

Slides and materials of the July 14, 2015 Capitol Hill Briefing are available here.