Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin includes 95% of Ontario’s agricultural land. Farmers know keeping our environment healthy, including soil and waterways, is important.
Phosphorus levels in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie are a serious concern. The result of excess phosphorus entering Lake Erie has been algal blooms that can be harmful to human health and the environment. Identified sources include runoff from cities and towns, agricultural sources, sewage treatment plants, airborne particles, septic systems and industrial discharges. Climate change, altered hydrologic patterns, changes in land use and the arrival of invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels also add to the algal bloom problems.
While agricultural practices have been recognized as a potential source of phosphorus in Lake Erie, Ontario farmers are already making many changes to farming practices to reduce phosphorus levels by using Best Management Practices (BMPs). Most agricultural BMPs address phosphorus loss during the growing season, however work continues to identify strategies and practices that would minimize phosphorus loss from agricultural lands during major storm events and during the non-growing season.
OFA is working with industry groups to find solutions to reduce overall phosphorus levels in Lake Erie and minimize phosphorus loss from farmland into the watershed.