Controlling nutrient runoff and water quality: Ohio's Latest Programs and Policies
Nutrient management on farms and water quality continue to make headlines across our state and region. For this EPN Breakfast program, Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) convenes Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA); Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to discuss their agency’s current nutrient management and water quality policies and programs; and Laurie A. Stevenson, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA).
This panel of leaders, representing Ohio’s primary environmental and natural resource agencies, will candidly answer the following questions:
- Is water quality in Ohio improving?
- What is Ohio doing to ensure increased control of nutrient runoff?
- What are Ohio’s state and non-governmental agencies doing to synthesize their work in nutrient management?
The conversation will include a discussion about the newly launched H2Ohio (h2.ohio.gov) water quality initiative. This collaborative initiative, linking ODNR, Ohio EPA, and ODA along with other agencies and stakeholders, was designed to invest in targeted, long-term solutions to ensure clean and safe water in Lake Erie and water systems throughout Ohio.
This EPN Breakfast program builds upon a similar conversation hosted by the EPN six years ago (October 2013). Since then some variables have changed, and others remain the same. Join us to learn more about where we are currently, and where we are going in nutrient management policy and water quality programming in Ohio.
Dr. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and Dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)
Since May 2017, Kress has responsibility for leadership of the college which also comprises OSU Extension, research centers including the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. She is a full professor within the department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. Kress is a Trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and serves on the State of Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, and served on the National 4-H Council Board, and as chair of the administrative heads section of the Board on Agriculture Assembly, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Dean Kress graduated with distinction from Iowa State University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree. She received her Master’s and Doctorate from the University of Iowa, where she was an American College Testing (ACT) Special Research Fellow.
Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture
Dorothy Pelanda was sworn in as the 39th director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Governor Mike DeWine on January 14, 2019. Pelanda is the first woman to serve as Director in the Department’s history. Her great-great-great uncle, Gideon Liggett, served eight years (six as treasurer) on the Ohio Board of Agriculture (the precursor to ODA) in the early 1900s. Pelanda lives on the small family farm on which she grew up in Union County. She served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2011-2019, serving on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Pelanda practiced law in private practice for nearly 30 years, where she represented hundreds of clients from Union County and the surrounding area. She is a graduate of Marysville High School, Miami University, and the University of Akron School of Law.
Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)
Mary Mertz was nominated as director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) on Dec. 5, 2018 and sworn in on January 14, 2019. She was the First Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Mike DeWine where she oversaw both the legal and administrative operations for the office, utilizing her extensive legal experience from both the private and public sectors. Prior to her appointment at the Attorney General’s Office, Mertz practiced law at a large, multi-national law firm. Mertz also served as chief of staff to Mike DeWine while he was Lt. Governor; as the legislative director for Congressman Bob McEwen; in the office of legislative affairs in the White House; and worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources while working for Ohio Gov. George V. Voinovich. Mertz is an avid sailor and outdoorsperson.
Laurie A. Stevenson, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA)
In January 2019, Governor Mike DeWine appointed Stevenson as director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. She most recently served as Deputy Director for Business Relations where she served as a primary contact for regulated entities to help coordinate permitting activities within the Agency, particularly for complex projects requiring multiple permits. Stevenson also served as chief of Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance. DEFA provides financial and technical assistance to businesses and communities to help achieve compliance with the environmental regulations. A public servant of 29 years, she previously served as the industrial liaison in the Director’s Office and managed Ohio EPA's Small Business Assistance Office (SBAO). She held previous positions in Ohio EPA's Division of Hazardous Waste Management, starting in the Southeast District Office as a hazardous waste field inspector. Stevenson earned a B.S. in Environmental Health from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Public Health from The Ohio State University.
7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; coffee served
7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served
8:10 a.m. Jeff Sharp, PhD. Director, School of Environment and Natural Resources provides welcome remarks
8:15 a.m. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) provides program introduction and introduces our panel of leaders
8:25 a.m. Agency perspective and overview on nutrient management and water quality from panel leaders:
- Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture
- Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)
- Laurie A. Stevenson, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA)
8:40 a.m. Dean Cathann A. Kress leads a moderated Q & A session with the panelists
9:10 a.m. Audience Q & A
9:25 a.m. Dr. Jeff Sharp closing comments and program concludes