FRANKLIN COUNTY (WCMH)Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the Ghanbari Water Quality Improvement Bill on Wednesday during a virtual press conference.

According to legislation, the bill creates a Statewide Watershed Planning and Management Program through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to help with water quality improvements.

“After working on this important bill for two years, with my joint sponsor Representative John Patterson, it’s rewarding to see our governor sign the bill into law,” said State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg). “I’m thankful for all the widespread support of House Bill 7, as agriculture is a prime industry throughout Wood County, water quality improvement is critical for our farmers and their production of crops across our state.”

Provisions of the bill include:

  • Creates the Statewide Watershed Planning and Management Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA);
  • ODA Director must categorize watersheds and appoint at least one watershed planning and management coordinator in each region to coordinate planning;
  • Coordinators perform certain duties in the watershed, including assisting each soil and water conservation district to identify sources and areas of water quality impairment;
  • ODA, in consultation with the Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, may establish a pilot program that assists farmers, agricultural retailers, and soil and water conservation districts in reducing phosphorus in a watershed; and
  • Revises requirements for CAUV eligibility of land used for biofuel production. Reduces from 50% to 20% of the amount of bio-digesters that must come from the farm.