Barnegat Bay in New Jersey is no longer a safe place to go swimming as there has been a dramatic shift in the marine ecosystem. Excess nutrients from the nitrogen fertilizer people commonly use on their lawns are causing an occurrence in the water such as an increase in red algae blooms, sea nettle infestations and fish kills. Ultimately, unchecked nutrient runoff sucks the oxygen out of the water and creates a dead zone like the one in the Gulf of Mexico.
Barnegat Bay provides more than $3.3 billion in economic benefits annually to New Jersey. It’s the state’s most-used waterway. However, it is not getting the care it needs. Although there are four bills concentrating on increasing the health of the bay, which have been approved and moved to the state level for consideration this fall, the damage will take time to fix.
Title: Fertilizer Runoff is Killing Our Waterways
Author: Michael Brune
Publication Source: AlterNet, September 3, 2010
Student Researcher: Katherine Ross, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Julie Bright, Sonoma State University