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 FertilizerConsumptiongrowing population, it has led to challenges when it comes to managing our water resources.

What’s the problem?  While farmers 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 too many 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
Algal bloom Taihu, China Source: Dr. Hans Paerl