Twenty new rules pertaining to manure and fertilizer runoff could be in effect by the end of this month. Several media entities have covered the story:
Mike Shelton from ODNR discusses
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A legislative committee on Monday cleared the way for new rules restricting some farmers from spreading manure on frozen land to prevent it from running off into Grand Lake and other waters.
…Environmental advocates on Monday told the committee that the winter ban was critical to stopping the manure from flowing into the Grand Lake St. Marys’ watershed after the snow melts, the ground thaws and the spring rainfall begins.
The 13,500-acre lake is used for recreation and drinking water. Its watershed covers more than 59,000 acres.
"Without a change in the current system, it is not hard to believe that the worst is yet to come," said Bill Ringo, vice president of the Friends for the Preservation of Ohio State Parks Association.
Once the department’s regulations take effect, farmers in the areas impacted by manure run-off would have two years before they would be banned from putting it on their fields. During that two-year period, they would be required to follow federal guidelines for manure application and develop a plan for how to get rid of and apply manure in the future.
Currently, the federal guidelines are only suggested best practices.
Ringo took issue with the timing of winter manure ban, saying it should be in place more immediately. Another advocate, Thomas Rampe, said the restrictions should extend from Nov. 15 to April 1, instead of the Dec. 15 to March 1 period the department outlined.