The Indiana State Department of Agriculture has released a statewide strategy aimed at improving water quality in Indiana, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The State Nutrient Reduction Strategy has been developed over several years following a call to action by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA called on each of the 12 major states in the Mississippi River Drainage Basin, including Indiana, to reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen carried to the Gulf of Mexico. Excess amounts of those nutrients can stimulate excessive algae growth, which can lead to low oxygen levels in the water once the algae decompose.
The SNRS was developed by the Indiana Conservation Partnership with guidance from the ISDA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and assistance from agricultural commodity groups, Indiana Farm Bureau and Purdue University. Julie Harrold, ISDA program manager for water quality initiatives, says the strategy has been approved by the EPA.
"This completed strategy is the culmination of a great deal of hard work," said Ted McKinney, director of ISDA. "Importantly, the work was always collaborative and includes input from local, state and federal agencies, plus the private sector and non-government organizations. I’m thrilled with its completion."
The SNRS will also address the Western Lake Erie Basin and the Lake Michigan Basin as some of Indiana’s watersheds drain into them as well. It will also raise awareness about the location and nature of conservation practices on productive agricultural ground, according to the ISDA.
Click here to view the Indiana SNRS.