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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From RI Eco News

Some disturbing news today from a very good, on-line newspaper:

Dead Zones are Killing Ocean Ecosystems


Here's part of the story and the link: http://www.ecori.org/front-page-journal/2011/9/19/dead-zones-are-killing-ocean-ecosystems.html

By JESSICA WURZBACHER/special to ecoRI News

"A dead zone is an area of an ocean that has too little oxygen to support marine life; it’s hypoxic. This is a natural phenomenon that has been increasing in shallow coastal and estuarine areas as a result of human activities.
Eutrophication is an increase in nutrients in the water, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. Human activities have resulted in the near doubling of nitrogen and tripling of phosphorus flows to the environment when compared to natural values. Sources of nutrients in coastal waters include lawn fertilizers, agricultural manure, sewage discharges and stormwater.
“Dead zones” are the most severe result of eutrophication. This dramatic increase in previously limited nutrients causes massive algal blooms. These harmful blooms can cause fish kills, human illness through shellfish poisoning, and the death of marine mammals and shore birds. This population explosion is unsustainable, and eventually dies off, as they block out the light and use up all the oxygen. The algae sink to the bottom, and bacterial decomposition uses the remaining oxygen from the water."
Easy to predict the economic consequences of fish kills, human illness through shellfish and the death of marine mammals and shore birds.  Our failure, in this case, to protect our water systems has poisoned part of the local economy, too.

We encourage you to reduce your use of fertilizers and pesticides, and to think carefully about everything you put into the ground as it all, ultimately, ends up seeping into our drainage, sewers and rain runoff.  

On past shows, we've highlighted good farming techniques, and maybe we can do the same with home and commercial landscaping.  There is a better way.


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