The Western Lake Erie Basin was made a priority area by USDA because of an increase of algal blooms in the area over the past five years. Increased levels of phosphorus in surface water contribute to algal blooms which diminish water quality and are harmful to fish and other aquatic wildlife. Agricultural land in the Western Lake Erie Basin was determined to be one of the sources of increased phosphorus in surface water due to water and wind erosion.
The USDA has allocated $280,000 in financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for farmers in the Indiana portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin priority area.
The priority area includes parts of Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Noble, Steuben, and Wells counties. The financial assistance is available for producers to implement selected conservation activities that help prevent nutrients and sediment from agricultural land from entering Lake Erie, with an emphasis on phosphorus reductions.