Which Water? At Nutrients Plus we talk about clean water. A lot. Much of that discussion has been about fresh water. Potential drinking water. We are also working to improve the quality of sea water as well. Case in point? The Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake Bay doesn’t provide us fresh water for irrigation or personal hydration. However the bay is an estuary, which is a zone where fresh and salt water mix then opens to the ocean. In an estuary, rivers bring their fresh water and sediment to the ocean water and provide nutrients to seafood and other fish which in turn create healthy environments for a whole host of wildlife. Blue crabs, oysters, herring, striped bass, to name a few, create a fishing industry worth $3.9 billion in 2009. With a healthy fishery, the area is more likely to be visited by Atlantic sturgeon, sharks, rays, loggerhead turtles, bottlenose dolphins and an assortment of whales. In short, the kind of environment that leads to a tourism industry of at least $44 billion.
What could interfere with these industries? Dead zones in the bay. Dead zones are really areas where there is insufficient oxygen dissolved in the water. Without oxygen, there is no plant or animal life. A lack of oxygen, called hypoxia is caused by elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Where do they come from? It runs off in various forms from farms, homes, cities and industry and from waste water treatment plants, How do they get into the Bay? The chemicals with nitrogen and phosphorus flow from there in rivers and streams throughout the Mid-Atlantic region into the bay.
Because the bay and its estuary are fed by rivers. the watershed of those rivers and streams can change the water quality of the bay. In the case of the Chesapeake Bay that water shed is huge, covering large swathes of the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. EPA is working with these states and local governments to decrease the amount of these nutrients that flow into our joint asset so we can all continue to reap the advantages.
We are proud that the products of Clarus Choice found ways to recover the nitrogen and phosphorus, valuable nutrients in fertilizer, to reduce the likelihood of runoff. That makes us a partner in nutrient management for the Bay. So, if you are wondering why we keep talking about choice fertilizer and clean water, you now have another reason.
Happy 4th of July!