We oppose the ODA's proposed changes to OAC 901:13-1-11, 901:13-1-19, 901:13-1-20, and 901:13-1-99, including the proposed change to manure spreading rules in the Grand Lake St. Marys distressed watershed. Since 2011, the Dec. 15 to March 1 ban on manure spreading has played a vital role in reducing excess nutrients that cause toxic algae blooms in Grand Lake St. Marys.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proposing that the winter manure ban in the Grand Lake Watershed be lifted and producers be allowed to spread manure at all times of the year. Though the proposal language still prohibits spreading under conditions such as snow-covered, frozen, and saturated soil, the proposed terms are vague and unenforceable, and would likely increase nutrient loading in Grand Lake St. Marys.
Research has proven the efficacy of the manure ban and progress made by producers in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. To lift this ban now would be reckless and unfounded given the advances that have been made in decreasing nutrients that pollute the watershed.
Despite the best efforts of the Lake Improvement Association and other entities to maintain a dialog with ODA and work toward a compromise, ODA has elected to force its plan on the citizens of Mercer and Auglaize counties with no regard for the disastrous effect it might have on our environment and economy.
With this in mind, the Lake Improvement Association and all signees of this petition vehemently oppose the proposed changes in the distressed watershed package for Grand Lake St. Marys.