By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.
Analyzing the cost benefit ratio is a regular management function in agriculture. As farmers make decisions regarding the implementation of best management practices and fertilizer application rates, there is an economic benefit analysis that must be considered. The same applies as the government makes decisions regarding the allocation of resources to phosphorus reduction in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The USEPA is working to develop alternative approaches to achieving nutrient reduction without regulation. Studies have been conducted in the smaller yet similar and more intensely monitored East Fork Watershed in Southern Ohio to develop modeling by conducting bioassessments to determine impact and target levels for excess nutrients.
Watershed action planning involves evaluating the cost of reduction of total phosphorus (TP) levels. “In the modeled watershed, to make the improvements to waste water treatment plants (WWTP), to achieve a 1% reduction in phosphorus (P) load it would cost $5.4 million dollars.