New Research Identifies Tool to Mitigate Phosphorus

Updated May 14, 2015 Calcium Sulfate (gypsum) soil amendment reduces SRP loading by over 50%  Nutrient runoff from agricultural fields is one source of pollution that impacts the integrity of our waterways and the quality of our critical water resources. Fertilizers and animal manures are important sources of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. These help to maintain the productivity of farmland and our nation’s food security in the current agricultural landscape, but they can also impact the environment once they leave the field and enter our lakes and rivers. In the Midwest, phosphorus from farm activities in areas like the Maumee River watershed in Indiana and Ohio contribute to annual “blooms” of algae in Lake Erie that kill wildlife, pollute drinking water with toxins, and disrupt economic growth. Given the importance of both fruitful and reliable agriculture and the need to safeguard high-quality water resources into the future, research is being conducted into tools that will allow farmers to support their livelihoods while acting as responsible stewards of the lands and waters their farms impact. One such tool is calcium sulfate (gypsum), and a study underway in Ohio is yielding extremely promising results after just the first use. Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral that has been recognized for its benefits to agriculture for hundreds of years. It is also a byproduct of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems, or the coal-fired power plant “scrubbers” that have been installed in many plants to remove sulfur from their exhaust and reduce acid rain. Our research, designed and led by Dr. Warren Dick of the Ohio State University, takes this valuable material...

Greenleaf Communities June Board Meeting

Greenleaf Communities, our sister non-profit organization whose mission is to mitigate the environmental causes of human health concerns, hosted a successful Summer 2014 Board Meeting last week. True to Greenleaf’s collaborative approach, we brought together leaders in business, science and policy to share our latest in leading research teams to inform business practices and government policies. We discussed current projects, such as our healthy soil study in the Eagle Creek watershed near Indianapolis and the importance in demonstrating reproducible results to strengthen best practices. Board member Dr. Janet Hock presented her work studying links between environmental exposures and incidences of cancer in Maine. She and her colleagues mapped lifestyle, behavioral, and geographic environmental exposures with cancer cases. This research could benefit healthcare by enhancing diagnosis and prognosis, improve health risk assessments and help healthcare centers determine where to place specialists. The Ohio State University, with support from Greenleaf Advisors, is launching a workshop and symposium series later this year. The Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Workshop will take place September 14-16th in Columbus, Ohio with the goal of improving agricultural management practices on lands that impact our nation’s waters. The workshop will bring together researchers and representatives from a variety of disciplines to approach this watershed issue. Additional details will be posted on this site as they become available. After reflecting upon our current and upcoming work, the Greenleaf board members strategized on addressing other issues of critical importance to environmental and human health, namely water scarcity and the effects of climate change, in what was a very productive board...