News & Events

Lake Erie UpDate

March 2017

Animals can be invasive too! Asian carp are an example of a nonnative species
that can replace native fish populations. These carp are threatening to upset the
balance of Lake Erie reducing populations of fish such as walleye. One model
suggests that Asian carp could eventually account for up to 34% of the total fish
weight in the lake.

Bighead and silver carp, imported from Asia to control algae, compete with native fish that eat microscopic plants and animals. Another Asian species, grass carp, will feast on aquatic vegetation that provides crucial habitat and spawning grounds. They have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario, although it’s uncertain how many there are or how widely they have spread.

November 2016

If you visited Lake Erie this summer there is a chance you saw algal blooms. Unfortunately, you didn’t need to go that far, as we had a harmful algal bloom detected on the Maumee River right here in Defiance. 🙁

Having a bloom such as this on moving water demonstrates that we have a long way to go in reducing the nutrients entering our streams and rivers.  These algal blooms occur when there is excess  phosphorus & nitrogen, as algae and cyanobacteria feed on these nutrients.  In addition, warmer water can increase the blooms making them more likely to occur in stagnant systems, usually not moving water flowing down a river!  The Defiance Department of Health responded by posting warning signs at access points along the River.

Fixing the Harmful Algal Bloom problem will not occur overnight, but Ohio has signed an agreement with some specific targets for reducing phosphorus inputs.   We have committed to a 20% reduction by 2020 and a 40% reduction by 2025.  Scientists are working to identify target areas and strategies that will be most effective by using computer models and data such as land use, soil type, and conservation practices to pinpoint phosphorus hotspots.

2017 SWCD Tree Sale


Defiance Soil & Water Conservation District Annual  Tree Seedling Sale.

Now taking orders for conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs.

Fruit trees are available in a four-species variety pack at a cost of $48.00 per pack and include 2 apple, 1 peach, and 1 cherry. Due to limited availability, please call 419-782-1794 to place an order. Do not send payment without first contacting the District.

Order Deadline Extended to March 17, 2017.

2017 Order Form and Descriptions


We All Need Trees




Conservation Partner of the Year

img_5329Joe Blosser was honored and recognized this year by the SWCD as “Conservation Partner of the Year.”  Joe has an extensive collection of wildlife mounts and furs that he has very generously shared at SWCD events and classroom programs.  Thousands of Defiance county students and adults have learned about Ohio wildlife by hearing Joe’s presentation and getting up close and personal with the mounts and furs.  Although these are expensive and delicate, Joe has always encouraged people to touch the animals!  These experiences not only create a relationship with our wildlife population, but cultivate a respect for natural resources and promote a mentality of conservation.  Thank you to Joe Blosser for the use of these displays along with the donation of his time.  A champion of Defiance County conservation!

Riverfront Gathering

img_5184This event took place this August on the banks of the Maumee River in Defiance. The evening was a time to stop and reflect on our local historic and natural resources. The goal was to connect people to the river and we achieved this by taking about 130 people on free pontoon boat rides! The pontoon was provided by the Tri-State Watershed Alliance, a group focused on improving watershed health, recreation, and business opportunities.

The mayor of Defiance, Mike McCann, and an Upper Maumee Watershed Partnership Board member, Rex Oskey took turns driving the boat and chatting with riders about local history, water quality and plans for the future. In addition, we had kayaks available for people to try a little human powered boating. Overall, it was a great event with music, food, art, farmer’s market, and activities for the kids. Look for a similar event in 2017 to celebrate the River!

EPA News: Lake Erie Water Quality


February 22, 2016

Governments of Canada and the United States Announce Phosphorus Reduction Targets of 40 percent to Improve Lake Erie Water Quality and Reduce Public Health Risk

New targets to reduce toxic and nuisance algae blooms affecting Lake Erie

WASHINGTON.- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna today announced that Canada and the U.S. have adopted targets to reduce phosphorus entering affected areas of Lake Erie by 40 percent. The targets announced today will minimize the extent of low oxygen “dead zones” in the central basin of Lake Erie; maintain algae growth at a level consistent with healthy aquatic ecosystems; and maintain algae biomass at levels that do not produce toxins that pose a threat to human or ecosystem health.

Through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United Statescommitted in 2012 to combat the growing threat of toxic and nuisance algae development in Lake Erie, and agreed to develop updated binational phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie by February 2016. The 40 percent reduction targets are based on 2008 loading levels. Canada and the United States have committed to develop domestic action plans, by no later than February 2018, to help meet the new targets.

“To protect public health, we must restore the Great Lakes for all those who depend on them,” said Gina McCarthy, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency. “The first step in our urgent work together to protect Lake Erie from toxic algae, harmful algal blooms, and other effects of nutrient runoff, is to establish these important phosphorus limits. But, establishing these targets is not the end of our work together. We are already taking action to meet them.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change said, “Canada recognizes the urgency and magnitude of the threat to Lake Erie water quality and ecosystem health posed by toxic and nuisance algal blooms. By establishing these targets, we strengthen our resolve to work with our American neighbours, and Canadian and U.S. stakeholders who share these waters, to protect the tremendous natural resource that is Lake Erie.”

Algae occur naturally in freshwater systems. They are essential to the aquatic food web and healthy ecosystems. However, too much algae, linked to high amounts of phosphorus, can lead to conditions that can harm human health and the environment. Since the 1990s, Lake Erie has seen an increase in algal growth that has compromised water quality and threatens the Lake Erie region’s recreation-intensive economy. The targets were developed after extensive public input from a diversity of sectors.

Quick Facts

  • The 2015 harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie was recorded as the largest bloom this century.
  • Modeling experts from the United States and Canada used nine different computer simulation models to correlate changes in phosphorus levels with levels of algal growth in order to determine phosphorus load reduction targets.
  • A binational public consultation process was held between June 30 and August 31, 2015.  Final targets were established following widespread support for the draft targets and the target setting process.
  • More than 40 Canadian and American experts formed a binational team under the leadership of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to develop the targets.
  • In Canada, more than 50 individuals, groups and agencies representing Agricultural and other non-government organizations, Conservation Authorities, municipal governments, Ontario government agencies, First Nations, and Universities commented on the draft targets through an on-line tool and face-to-face discussions.



Senate Bill 1 Meeting: What do the Nutrient Application Restrictions Mean to Me?

As producers prepare for next year’s crop nutrient applications, it is important to understand Senate Bill 1 restrictions and make nutrient applications accordingly.

The Defiance Soil & Water Conservation District, OSU Extension, NRCS, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be hosting an informational meeting on Senate Bill 1 regulations:

  • Monday, November 16th

    from 6 to 8 pm

  • at Evergreen Lane Office Complex

    06879 Evansport Road, Defiance.

  • Matthew Lane, with ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources; Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Educator; and SWCD staff will review the new law and answer specific questions that producers may have about manure and fertilizer applications.