Barnstable Clean Water Coalition Stresses Importance of Nutrient Reduction

BARNSTABLE – Visitors and residents in Barnstable may have noticed some of the effects of increased nutrient pollution.

Although alga is a normal part of coastal ecosystems, excessive nutrients can lead to growth, or algal blooms, that can be hard to control.

Algal blooms can produce toxins harmful to marine life and humans, along with foul odors that hamper the enjoyment of beachgoers.

The blooms are caused by large amounts of nutrients in the water, a lot of sunlight and hot temperatures.

The blooms block sunlight from reaching important marine plants, such as eelgrass. They also result in low oxygen zones which can harm or kill marine life.

The main solution for the problems caused by algae overgrowth is to reduce nitrogen, which is the main source of food algae uses to grow.

Source reduction of nutrients can be accomplished through municipal treatment and alternative septic systems. Water reduction of nutrients is being conducted through aquaculture and other non-traditional technologies.

Organizations like the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition is working to reduce nitrogen loading both at the source and in the waters.

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