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Report: Voluntary farm runoff regulations don’t work

Farm runoff fuels green algae blooms in Lake Erie. Image: NOAA CoastWatch

State programs for regulating and preventing farm runoff are falling short, according to a new report (PDF) from the Environmental Law and Policy Center and Mississippi River Collaborative. Farm runoff is a problem because it carries nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers into lakes and bays. Once there, the nutrients can contaminate drinking water or fuel algae blooms that muck up beaches. Bacteria that break down dead blooms use up oxygen and leave behind dead zones where wildlife can’t breathe. State programs to control runoff don’t work as well as they could because they are either underfunded or aren’t mandatory, the report says. Continue Reading →

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