Priority Management Measure 1-Controlled Drainage
Given that the Lower Auglaize Tributaries watershed lays in what was once the Great Black Swamp and the clay soils of the area, the goal of current agricultural practices is to get the water away from the land surface as quickly as possible via surface and subsurface means.
Ohio EPA notes in their NPS Management plan that this has led to major changes in the hydrology and physical integrity of Ohio’s waterways and thus any practice or effort that can be put forward to control the runoff of this nutrient-rich water will be of great value. Controlled drainage structures or water control boxes will provide landowners with increased control over their tile drains to keep water in the tile for an increased amount of time. Blind Inlets will allow for filtration of water exiting the field.
Priority Management Measure 2-Waterways
The Ohio EPA notes that grassed waterways have been proven to be effective at reducing soil erosion and preventing sediment loss and that proper design and implementation is critical to its success. This project seeks to address runoff that occurs with rain events from row crop agricultural fields and the resulting erosion and sedimentation that occurs. The land use to be addressed is row crop farming on and near sloped ground and farming near eroded gullies and ditch banks. The Nature Conservancy can aid with this project to help identify potential sites for practices and supports practices such as this to be installed within the watershed.
Priority Management Measure 3-Livestock Nutrient Management
Considering recent events with Lake Erie water quality, nutrient management has come to the forefront of the water quality debate in the WLEB. Paulding SWCD receives and handles several complaints regarding application or storage of manure nutrients related to Senate Bill 1 and Pollution Abatement through the WLEB Nutrient Management Specialist position the office currently holds. The following project seeks to address livestock manure that is stored outside that is vulnerable to leaching during any rainfall event. This project is designed to put an increased emphasis on addressing nutrient management BMP’s with producers within the Lower Auglaize Tributaries.
Priority Management Measure 4-Stream Restoration
The Stream Restoration Measure is designed to improve water quality through streambank restoration to curb erosion, sedimentation, and runoff from rain events. As noted in the Biological and Water Quality Study of the Lower Auglaize Tributaries, the Lower Auglaize Tributaries is affected by sedimentation, erosion, and nutrient runoff and that reduction of these factors can be achieved by re-establishing riparian buffers in wetland and wood areas, to filter and slow runoff from agricultural and stormwater events. The focus of this project that will seek to allow for the natural development of stream channels that will permit sediment to settle out in natural floodplain areas, diluting excess nutrients, and allowing the stream to evolve into a stable channel leading to a reduction in erosion.
Priority Management Measure 5-Repair/Replace Home Septic Systems
Failing septic systems are a concern that needs to be addressed to improve water quality given the largely rural landscape that is present. This project seeks to address the leaking of raw sewage into drainage ditches within the watershed. Aged septic systems do not filter or contain home sewage, leading to discharge in drainage ditches and bringing about public health concerns and environmental health concerns. The Paulding County Health Department is already active in the process of working with residents that qualify for funds they currently hold to repair and replace the malfunctioning systems and install new systems that contain the home sewage.
Priority Management Measure 6-Filter Strips
The Ohio NPS Management Plan update highlights filters strips as a practice to reduce erosion, nutrient, and sediment loss to surface waters. The Filter Strip project applies to cropland areas that are located below cultivated land where sediment, nutrients, and animal waste have the potential to be transported from the field to environmentally sensitive areas. This project seeks to convert cropland acres to perennial vegetative cover that will trap and filter out runoff from cropland before entering environmentally sensitive areas. Providing another line of defense to filter out runoff to sensitive areas will prove beneficial to achieving improved water quality.
Priority Management Measure 7-Wetland Enhancement & Restoration
This project is designed to treat and filter runoff from agricultural fields, livestock facilities, and other nonpoint sources prior to being discharged into our waterways. Flood control during heavy rainfall events is another pollutant/stressor to be addressed as part of this project. The Lower Auglaize Tributaries is primarily rural agricultural lands with minimal urban areas. In the NPS Management Plan update, runoff from livestock feeding areas can be diverted to wetland areas which can assimilate nutrients from the livestock manure through detention or vegetative uptake.
Priority Management Measure 8-Soil Health
This project seeks to improve soil health and proper management of nutrients within the watershed and seeks to address nutrient runoff from commercial fertilizers and livestock manure along with a lack of soil organic matter from agricultural land uses.
Sources include field application of fertilizer and manure nutrients runoff, livestock operation runoff, and subsurface drainage from row crop farming.
Priority Management Measure 9-Ohio Lake Erie Commission Fertilizer placement tool Grant
This project is paired with the Soil Health management measure to achieve proper placement of fertilizer nutrients within the watershed. The Paulding SWCD is currently is possession of a fertilizer placement tool purchased thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The tool is a single product applicator that places dry nutrients 4.5” in the soil. To qualify for the program, producers must have had a precision soil test in the last three years with a subscription for variable rate application. Paulding SWCD staff will operate the equipment as acres are signed up through the program.