May 4, 2018

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Geosyntec Staff Brings Non-Point Source Dialogue to the 2018 Ohio Stormwater Conference

The 2018 Ohio Stormwater Conference will be held at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio on May 9-11, 2018. This annual conference is a platform for representatives from multiple organizations to address stormwater quality issues.

Geosyntec staff leading presentations at the conference are: Matt Bardol, P.E., CFM, CPESC, D.WRE. (Illinois), and Elizabeth Toot-Levy (Ohio).

In addition to the Geosyntec presentations on municipal stormwater, Geosyntec's Elizabeth (Beth) Toot-Levy was instrumental in engaging representatives from the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA), and agricultural water quality researchers to attend and present at the Ohio Stormwater Conference.

"We can only solve this problem if we look at it holistically," says Beth. "The problems surrounding Lake Erie algae are too significant for any one source to solve them. There were algae blooms in Lake Erie in the 1970s and 80s. Having "grown up" in the wastewater community, I always thought this issue was solved by removing phosphorus from detergent and wastewater treatment plants. We talked very little about the role of farmers and no-till farming in reducing erosion and phosphorus runoff. When I began working for Geosyntec, I had the opportunity to work more closely with leaders in Ohio's agriculture community. Solving today's algae problems will take a concerted effort from both point and non-point sources. This is a multifaceted issue that sits at the intersection of policy and science."

Tom Fontana, Director, Research and Education, Ohio Soybean Council echoes the value of bringing point source and non-point source stakeholders together. "Making water quality improvements in Ohio is everyone's issue. That is why the connections facilitated by Beth Toot-Levy and Adrienne Nemura for Ohio farmers to communicate with point source groups is extremely valuable. We need to know the challenges we all face," says Tom.

Doug Clark, WPC Superintendent, City of Bowling Green agrees. "Beth is always good to talk to and does a great job of building the much needed bridge between the point source and non-point source communities," says Doug.

The Agriculture Session includes the following presentations:

Title: Shifting the Norm - Ohio's Grain Farmers and Water Quality
Presenter: Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association
Session Track: F2G: Agriculture
Ohio is moving forward with a strategy to reduce nutrient loading to both Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Much like solutions to the Lake Erie's 1970's algae blooms; todays solutions will take a collective effort that includes both point and non-point sources of nutrients. In parts of Ohio, non-point sources of nutrients are largely comprised of agricultural stormwater runoff. The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Associations (OCWGA) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) collectively represent 24,000 of Ohio's grain farmers. These grain farmers working to continually improve and advance practices leading Ohio's growers toward doing their part in meaningful water quality improvements in Ohio's watersheds. There are a number of misconceptions about what Ohio's growers are and are not doing. This presentation help to will set the record straight by providing information regarding the steps that Ohio growers (corn, wheat, and soybean) are taking to reduce run-off from fields

Title: Ohio's Grain Farmers and Water Quality Research
Presenter: Tom Fontana, Director, Research and Education, Ohio Soybean Council.
Session Track: F2G: Agriculture
Farmers want to be good environmental stewards and are continually adapting their practices to improve water quality. They recognize that their decisions need to be based on the best science and research that is available and are actively funding and participating in that research. From 2011 to the present, through their check-off programs managed by The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Associations (OCW) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), Ohio's 24,000 grain farmers have invested 4.5 million dollars in research, education, market development, and other promotion through their check-off funding programs. Approximately 70 percent of that funding has directly funded water quality research programs such as On-Field Ohio, updates to the tri-state fertility recommendations, Edge of Field monitoring, and research into the sources and fate of nutrients in surface and tile drainage. This presentation will provide an introduction into the water quality based research being funded by OCW and OSC and a summary of the results as well as a look at some of the unanswered questions.
Title: Multiple Maumee Watershed Models of Potential Phosphorus Reduction Management Plans
Presenter: Jay Martin, Professor of Ecological Engineering, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University
Track: F2G: Agriculture
A multi-university team of modeling experts developed, calibrated and validated six watershed computer models to determine which conservation practices are most likely to lead to target reductions in phosphorus runoff from the Maumee River watershed into Lake Erie. The tools are being used to evaluate how adoption of conservation measures over time will impact overall water quality and what changes are likely to lead to the 40% reduction in phosphorus runoff targeted by a number of policy initiatives. The project built upon previous modeling efforts and has been expanded to include a robust stakeholder advisory group to provide important guidance regarding agricultural conservation options that should be analyzed such as changing fertilizer and manure application rates, timing and level of incorporation into the soil, cover crops, management of subsurface drains and restoring headwater wetlands. This presentation will present the final results of this modeling effort.

Title: Revising the Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index
Presenter: Dr. Libby Dayton, Soil Scientist in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University
Track: F3G: Agriculture
The revised Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index is intended to provide a field-scale, long-term average estimate of surface and tile phosphorus runoff risk based on field characteristics, soil phosphorus levels and farmer management practices. It is an integral part of nutrient management plans. Field-scale, edge of field runoff monitoring facilities were established on 29 Ohio fields and are being monitored. Three years of data was collected to validate and as necessary revise the current Ohio phosphorus index and develop an online, web-based, interactive tool to actively promote and deliver the revised phosphorus index. This work has allowed the index to shift from a qualitative tool to a more quantitative mechanism providing un-ambiguous information regarding long-term average field-scale risk of erosion potential. This can allow farmers to prioritize time and resources making effective management decisions. Increasingly the Ohio phosphorus risk index is being used to judge farmer performance so we have to get it right.

Title: Review of Ohio Nutrient Management Legislation and Field P Contributions
Presenter: Greg LaBarge, Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems, The Ohio State University Extension
Track: F4G: Agriculture

Ohio Revised Code provides regulatory oversight to agriculture on erosion/nutrient water impairments. The Ohio Ag Pollution Abatement Program is applied to all livestock operations. Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities operate under Livestock Environmental Permitting Program and must obtain permits "to install" and "to operate." Additionally, National Pollution Discharge Elimination Permits are required under certain conditions. Manure applicators are subject to Certified Livestock Manager Certification. Fertilizer applicators with more 50 acres of "Agricultural Production" are required to obtain a Fertilizer Applicators Certification. Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) Nutrient applicators have additional weather ground condition criteria. Domestic Action plans to attain agreed to reduction goals have focused on non-point sources in the WLEB. Efforts are underway to better understand field contributions of P from surface and subsurface sources. These efforts provide a science base understand natural and management effects on water quality to guide recommendation that move toward goal attainment.

Presentations by Geosyntec Staff:

Title: In My Backyard – Detention Basin Retrofits and Streambank/Channel Stabilization
Presenter: Matt Bardol
Session Track: F4B: Green Infrastructure
The St. Peter's Missouri 2012 Stormwater Master Plan recommended retrofitting several existing detention basins to improve performance from both water quality and quantity perspectives as well as streambank and stream channel stabilization projects for degrading stream channels with in the city. The detention basins and the stream channels were often located on private property, prompting resident concerns that the resulting retrofits would increase concrete and rip-rap in their neighborhoods, reduce the number of trees, and limit what landowners can do on their properties due to the maintenance easements. Six existing basins or wet ponds and four channels were retrofitted, using green infrastructure approaches. Several features include the replacement of the concrete-lined channels with low-flow channels of river rock and native vegetation; re-configuration to increase both the storage volume and ecological diversity, energy dissipation measures, and native plantings. The majority of retrofits occurred on private property and the success of the project largely hinged on landowner support. The St. Peters Stormwater Program is a great example of a municipality working with their residents to solve urban stormwater issues. Successful projects hinge on landowner input, support, and by in.

Title:  Predicting Hydromodification Impacts Using a Four Factor Approach
Presenter: Matt Bardol
Session Track: MS4 Program Management
The impacts of hydromodification are frequently manifested through changes in stream morphology. Methods for managing hydromodification have focused on maintaining the pre-development frequency distribution of runoff. This approach assumes that there are no changes in sediment supply, bed/bank material composition, and channel geometry due to land development; however, changes to these additional three factors may impact the geomorphic stability of streams. These factors should be considered in hydromodification-related regulatory, planning, and stream enhancement efforts. A step-by-step approach for modeling geomorphic impacts due to changes in land use by: (1) properly characterizing the four primary factors controlling channel adjustment for both the pre- and post-development condition, (2) incorporating these characterizations as inputs to a long-term continuous sediment transport model, and (3) predicting the likelihood of channel form adjustment based on the ratio of sediment transport capacity in the pre- and post-disturbance conditions will be presented and illustrated through examples..

Title: The Role of Integrated Planning in Stormwater
Presenter: Elizabeth Toot-Levy
Session Track: F3D: CSO/SSO/I&I
In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Integrated Planning Framework to assist communities in addressing Clean Water Act requirements while allowing greater flexibility to facilitate consider "sustainable and comprehensive" solutions. While many communities are considering using the Framework, there is uncertainty surrounding what it takes to develop a cost-effective, implementable integrated plan. The Water Environment and Reuse Foundation funded a research project to collect as much information as possible regarding important tools, problems and data gaps associated with integrated planning. This research included a survey of communities who were somewhere in the process of conducting or considering integrated planning. The survey responses provided valuable insight into the status of integrated planning and provided for the selection of representative communities for in-depth case studies. Case studies communities were selected to represent the range of experience, from not pursuing integrated planning to having a completed plan that has been accepted by the regulators, with integrated planning. The survey and case study findings were used to develop an interactive integrated planning User's Guide.

More Information

Learn more/register for the conference: 2018 Ohio Stormwater Conference
Learn more about the Ohio Soybean Council:
Learn more about the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association:
Learn more about Beth:
Learn more about Matt Bardol:
Visit Geosyntec at Booth 205