Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In Review 4: government IS distress

Among the items qualifying for the category Stories That Just Won't Die this year-wrapping-up is the saga of Grand Lake. The reports of people and pets becoming alarmingly ill and pictures of the green and blue slime in the water were in a state of continual supply.

But, just when the story seemed to be headed for winter hibernation, the State of Ohio put the ellipses at the end of the paragraph for us in the first week of December. A report in the Columbus Dispatch informed us the state will be declaring Grand Lake a “watershed in distress.”

One of the key points the distress status carries is the Department of Natural Resources will impose new restrictions on the use of fertilizers by area farmers. The concern is the manure they are using is running-off in too large amounts into the lake.

"Officials think the manure is the prime source of algae-feeding phosphorus and nitrogen in the lake," the Dispatch informs us.

It is the opening phrase of that passage which leaves me so incredulous: Officials think….

So even though it is well within the realm of possibility that compost for agricultural use is a key contributor to Grand Lake’s algae blooms for the past several years, the best that our generously-paid public desk jockeys can present us is, "We're not entirely sure, but we’re going to operate under the assumption anyway regardless of the impact on farming in the area."

As if the stress being endured by independent and local farmers wasn't enough as of late, now they get to enjoy the DNR breathing down their necks over how much crap they’re shoveling out.

What I am curious to learn is if any studies have been done to compare the potential impacts of crop fertilizer versus ChemLawn, et al. After all, it would be useful to bear in mind that commercial lawn fertilizers use predominantly nitrogen in their formulas.

And, people in Celina and St. Marys sure have some beautiful lawns.

Now in all fairness, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation State Policy Director Beth Vanderkooi gave the plan her stamp of approval. Also according to the Dispatch, the plan did not receive any opposition during the committee hearing when it was presented.

Still, I cannot help but harbor doubts about taking a singular approach on this matter.

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