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Governor DeWine calls on farmers to do their part in reducing phosphorus runoff

As part of Governor Mike DeWine's H2Ohio plan, he's laid out ten best practices, expected to reduce runoff into the Lake Erie Watershed

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is rolling out his plan to reduce phosphorous runoff into Lake Erie. 

"We have a moral obligation; a moral obligation to preserve and protect these great, natural resources," he said during a presentation at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in east Toledo, Thursday.

Governor DeWine first introduced his H2Ohio plan in the spring. The state legislature approved $172 million in funding for the program for two years. DeWine said that now, it's time to get to work. 

"One of the most comprehensive, data-driven planning processes in our state's history," DeWine said of H2Ohio.

The plan creates wetlands, addresses failing septic systems, aims to prevent lead contamination and, of course, reduce runoff. 

The governor listed ten best practices he's asking farmers to get on board with. You can see them all here.

"Farmers want to do all that they can to reduce nutrient runoff. But they can't do it on their own," DeWine said. 

The plan includes economic incentives for farmers to use these best practices. It won't be mandatory and the governor couldn't give dollar figures just yet, but said he thinks farmers will buy in as they were part of the discussions when putting this plan together. 

"We're going to make public every year the number of acres in this watershed that are following good practices. So, we're going to be able to measure and the public is going to be able to see if we're making progress or not making progress," DeWine said.

Farmers in the crowd Thursday said the governor's plan seems well thought out. 

"If we continue to put conservation practices on the ground, I think it'll do nothing but improve our water quality down the road," Bob Short, a Williams County farmer and president of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts said.

RELATED: DeWine: Algae problem won't be solved overnight

RELATED: Lake Erie’s Advocates Cautious about Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio Fund

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