Nutrient Stewardship Council Chair Recognized by White House as Champion of Change

Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, the Western Lake Erie Basin Project Director for The Nature Conservancy and chair of the Nutrient Stewardship Council, is being honored as a Next Generation of Conservation Leaders Champion of Change by the White House.

In a blog on the White House website titled Sharing a Vision, Working Together, Saving Lake Erie, Vollmer-Sanders shared her thoughts about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, and how working together can help ensure long-term success in improving Lake Erie’s water quality.

An excerpt from her blog is below, read her entire blog on the White House website.

When I began working for The Nature Conservancy over three years ago, we started by talking with farmers and their most trusted advisers about how we could make sure that fertilizer grows crops, not algae.

When a small group of individuals — representing agri-business, research and The Nature Conservancy— began talking about solutions we were not bound by a plan, but we had the same basic end goal: grow enough food and have clean water to drink for the 9 billion people on the planet in 2050. With the teamwork of the agricultural, government, research and conservation communities in the Lake Erie basin, we think we have found some solutions that will achieve lasting conservation, because it is good business for farmers and for Lake Erie.

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, developed by the 4R Advisory Committee and now managed by the Nutrient Stewardship Council, was created to be a consistent, recognized program highlighting agricultural retailers’ nutrient stewardship efforts. The program ensures that social, environmental and economic 4R nutrient management sustainability goals (applying the Right source of fertilizer at the Right rate at the Right time, in the Right amount) are adopted, which will lead to long term positive impacts on water quality in Lake Erie. This voluntary, private third party evaluation of the farmer’s fertilizer and crop advisers recognizes their efforts to improve water quality.

This solution would not have happened without the shared vision of so many in agriculture and conservation working together with an open mind and determined heart. Being honored with the White House Champion of Change award is humbling, especially knowing that our progress is due to having a dedicated, solutions-oriented, and visionary team.

Only when key stakeholders agree that water quality is a top priority for maintaining the local economy, culture, and biodiversity of the area, will we achieve lasting conservation for all life in Lake Erie. Visit to learn more about our work and partnerships to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Like our work in this watershed, The Nature Conservancy works throughout the world to protect Earth’s fresh water for the future through, science-based, practical solutions.