The Nature Conservancy Supports Passage of House Bill 7, Remains Committeed to Seeking Long-term Funding for H2Ohio
Passage of HB 7 is an important first step toward improving Ohio's water quality.
House Bill 7 encourages the creation of 9-element plans in watersheds across the state. Unlike previous versions of HB 7, which advocated for long-term funding for H2Ohio, this version of the bill instead helps watershed coordinators identify and address water quality challenges that stem from “non-point” sources of pollutants. That means they accumulate not from a distinct discharge point like a pipe, but from many sources, such as agricultural and residential lands. It also supports a nutrient-reduction pilot project in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Bill Stanley, Ohio State Director for The Nature Conservancy:
“While it does not secure a mechanism for long-term funding for H2Ohio as originally drafted, this current version of House Bill 7 still represents an important step forward in the state’s ongoing efforts to address the overabundance of phosphorus and nitrogen in our waters, which is driving down water quality across the state—from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, and in the many streams and wetlands in between,” said Bill Stanley, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio (TNC). The impacts to our drinking water, recreation and tourism industry and overall economy are not abstract. They are real and significant.”
Stanley said TNC worked closely with the General Assembly as this bill was being developed and encouraged a policy that integrates science-based solutions.
“In addition to the increased development and use of 9-element plans this policy will bring, we are especially encouraged by the pilot program that will help determine best practices for nutrient management and provide the authority for the state to compile and aggregate on-farm information confidentially,” Stanley said. “The lessons learned from the pilot program and the data it produces will be paramount to improving Ohio’s water quality by ensuring the most effective solutions are being identified, prioritized and adopted.
And to that end, we recognize this pilot program is just that—a pilot. Many more projects across the basin and state will need to be supported to improve Ohio’s water quality. We celebrate the General Assembly’s ongoing commitment to seek long-term funding for H2Ohio and hope future legislation keeps this need front and center. It’s key to ensuring a safe, sustainable supply of clean drinking water for all Ohioans into the future.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.