Did you know that nutrient pollution is a major threat to water quality? Excess nitrogen and phosphorus carried in runoff from farm fields, wastewater plants and urban areas can fuel algae blooms that decrease oxygen needed by aquatic plants and animals. In the Gulf of Mexico, nutrients washed down river have created a “dead zone” that stretches for thousands of square miles. At home, nutrient pollution can also lower property values, hinder recreation, and degrade drinking water quality.
What can you do? Understand the importance of funding studies such as The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, which guides state efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our waterways. Be an educated consumer and/or farmer and learn about the problem. Pass along your knowledge, and support your local watershed group to influence policy to make your voice heard.