Sunday, April 12

Iowa in Top 10 for Dead Zone Creation

Thinking globally and acting locally has an important meaning as it applies to the water quality in Iowa. According to the U.S. Geological Survey in it's first report measuring the effects of nitrogen and phosphorous runoff on aquatic life downstream, 9 states contribute over 70 percent of the dead zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants. They are: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi.

In January 2008, USGS identified commercial fertilizers and animal manure from farmland in these nine states as the cause of over 70 percent of the Dead Zone pollution. Evidence is mounting that the mandated push to increase corn production – one of the most fertilizer intensive crops – for ethanol exacerbates water quality problems within the states and in the Gulf. This year, the USGS identifies and ranks watersheds in the Basin by the amount of pollution that gets to the Gulf.

The U.S. Geological Survey also has released a new list with 42 Iowa watersheds among the top 150 that are polluting the Mississippi River Basin and contributing to an 8,000 square mile "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. That list is reinforcing the opposition of environmental and farm groups to legislation that would allow large Iowa farms to continue a practice of spreading liquid manure on ice-and-snow-covered ground in winter.

Among the 42 Iowa watersheds with the most serious nitrogen-loading and drinking-water problems are the Cedar and Des Moines River watersheds.

The Iowa House is expected to debate SF-432 this week which deals with the dumping of hog containment waste into the waterways.

More here and here.

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