- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Farmers in southeastern Michigan still have time to apply for federal assistance with measures to reduce nutrient runoff from their land that winds up in Lake Erie and promotes algae growth.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering $500,000 in conservation funds to farmers in all or part of seven Michigan counties, including Lenawee, Monroe, Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne and Branch. The application deadline is August 28.

Runoff of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen is a leading cause of algae-like bacteria blooms on Lake Erie, which are a health threat to people and animals.

The federal funds will help farmers prevent runoff with practices such as planting cover crops and filter strips, developing management plans for nutrients and tillage, and using conservation crop rotation.

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