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New group working with farmers, municipalities to reduce phosphorus in the Thames


June 27, 2017
By Drainage Contractor

The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is developing innovative tools, practices and technologies to help farmers and municipalities reduce phosphorus and algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed, which feeds into Lake Erie. The project was officially launched at a press conference on June 27th, 2017. 

Elevated levels of phosphorus in water that runs off agricultural fields and collects in municipal drains can trigger the growth of toxic algal blooms in downstream water bodies. The western basin of Lake Erie has experienced several such incidents in recent years, disrupting the ecosystem, causing the closure of beaches and even in Toledo, Ohio, a ban on city drinking water for two days. Lake St. Clair, which is an indirect pathway to Lake Erie, has also been experiencing problems with near-shore algal blooms.

Among the initiatives aimed at resolving the problem is a commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 percent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie. There is also a commitment among Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to reduce phosphorus by 40 percent by 2025. The group has gathered research from around the world and is looking into how it could be applied locally.

Project partners are working to fulfill some of the recommendations made in the “Partnering in Phosphorus Control” draft action plan for Lake Erie that the Canadian and Ontario governments released in March. The governments completed a public consultation in May and are expected to have a plan in place next year.

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The project’s new website is at thamesriverprc.com


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