Nutrients in NC

In North Carolina and other areas of the U.S., excess nutrients from fertilizers, agricultural and urban runoff, and industrial pollution have led to algal blooms, fish kills, and damaged ecosystems.  It can also increase water treatment costs and support the growth of toxic algae.

July 2012 algal bloom, Cape Fear River
Algal bloom, Cape Fear River (Source NC DWQ)

North Carolina has developed several strategies to better manage nutrients and keep them from leading to such problems.  Formal efforts from the state gained momentum in the late 1990’s with the passage of nutrient reduction strategies in the Neuse followed by the Tar-Pamlico

Basin.  Most recently, the State passed rules for improving the Jordan Lake (2009) and Falls Lake (2011).  The goal for these rules is to reduce nutrient runoff to help clean waters and reduce the nutrient related water quality problems (e.g., excess algae and fish kills).

Watershed Investments works to support these strategies through more cost-efficient options that help meet the State’s nutrient reduction requirements.  This is a challenge that the state needs to meet to have an environment we can enjoy now and into the future.

NC Watersheds with Nutrient Strategies

NC’s Nutrient Strategy Watersheds

 

Nutrients – Too much of a good thing

We use fertilizer to grow food and keep our lawns green.  While it has helped our food production keep pace with the world’s growing populatFertilizerConsumptionion, it has led to challenges when it comes to managing our water resources.

What’s the problem?  While we need the fertilizer to help produce food to feed the world’s growing population, it’s use leads to increases in nutrient runoff to our waters.  This isn’t just a North Carolina problem, its a worldwide one.

North Carolina researcher Dr. Hans Paerl sent back these photos from some his work in Taihu, China where nutrient runoff is contributing to excessive algal growth in lakes.

Though not North Carolina, these photos illustrate the problem of excessive nutrients, or eutrophication.  Eutrophic waters lead to algal blooms, fish kills, and damaged ecosystems.  It can also increase water treatment costs and support the growth of toxic algae.  Altogether, something that we at Watershed Investments are working to avoid.

Algal bloom Taihu, China
Source: Dr. Hans Paerl
Algal bloom, Taihu China
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