Farmers can help fight growth of blue-green algae in local lakes by planting buffer strips of grass along waterways, according to Austin Jost, Natural Resource Conservation Service buffer coordinator.
Phosphorous and nitrogen fertilizer runoff from fields contributes to growth of algae. Buffer strips reduce the amount of fertilizer and other chemicals that wash into creeks and lakes, Jost said.
But that isn’t the only benefit of planting buffer strips, he said. Buffers also reduce erosion around creeks. Unchecked, erosion can spread into productive areas of fields. Buffers also provide extra habitat for wildlife.
Cost-share payments are available to support buffer strips.
For more information, contact Jost at the NRCS office at 303 Eisenhower Drive, Marion, call (620) 381-3737, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.