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Water Conservation: Florida Washed Out

With its many lakes, rivers, springs and wetlands, one would think Florida must be overflowing with freshwater — plenty for drinking, irrigation and enterprise. However, a coalition of three large regional water-management districts calculates that continuation of today’s practices will result in Central Florida running out of fresh water in 21 years.
TheLedger.com, 2/20/14
Read more at http://tinyurl.com/kkrdo8s

 

Curbing Agricultural Runoff that Pollutes the Gulf of Mexico

From the Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2014
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NEW MADISON, Ohio— Kevin Hollinger planted radishes and oats last fall in his corn and soybean fields, but he isn’t planning to harvest them. Instead, he is letting the crops die over the winter to improve the soil and keep fertilizer and other nutrients from running into nearby waterways. “I could hardly go to town without someone asking: ‘What’s that in your field?’ ” said Mr. Hollinger, a fourth-generation farmer. Helping to foot the bill for his experiment is a pilot program set to launch fully next month. Farmers in the Ohio River basin are being paid to make changes—from what they plant to how they handle manure—in an effort to minimize runoff that can cause hypoxia, or low oxygen levels, in waterways.
Nutrient runoff plays a role, nearly 1,000 miles downstream from Mr. Hollinger’s farm, in the formation of the so-called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico—an area where fish and other aquatic life can’t survive and which is considered one of the nation’s biggest water-pollution problems. Shrinking the dead zone—which was most recently the size of Connecticut—has challenged regulators. Nutrients that flow down in the Mississippi River and end up in the Gulf come from hundreds of thousands of sources across more than a dozen states.

Read the whole article at http://tinyurl.com/k43j2k8

Gilinski on Nutrients

John Preyer and our partner in Virginia, Brent Fults, of the Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust, visited Duke University and Blue Devil country last week to see well regarded state and national water quality regulator Ellen Gilinski speak on nutrient problems.  Ellen is formerly the Director of the Water Division at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and now Senior Policy Advisor at the EPA.  She did not disappoint and gave a fine summary of the challenges and opportunities in water quality and nutrient regulation.

Very good as well to see Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment place these visiting talks on the web.  Makes parking much easier.