State officials unveil new plan to protect Lake Erie

Help is on the way for troubled lake Erie, a new multi-agency initiative from the state of Ohio is designed to help improve the water quality.

In a show of department strength heads of governor Kasichâ??s administration announced a new plan to help improve the waters of lake Erie.

The head of Ohioâ??s department of natural resources Jim Zehringer says one of the first priorities for the D.N.R. is to immediately reduce nutrient runoff of the agricultural property closest to the lake

Zehringer says the department is pledging 1.25 million dollars to help supply local farmers with resources like drainage equipment and cover crops, which could reduce the runoff almost instantly

Ohio E.P.A. Director Craig Butler, says while changing agricultural habits are important its only one part of a much bigger problem. Which is why Butler says the state will make available funds to help improve local water systems. Including 150 million dollars in interest free loans, aimed to help improve local water treatment and waste facilities. Another 1 million dollars for testing equipment to help screen for harmful toxins like Microcystin, and another 2 million going towards Ohio universities for algal bloom research.

Butler says the new plan is in effect beginning on Thursday, which means officials in cities like Toledo can apply almost immediately for funds.