"Agricultural Runoff Has Harsh Impact on Environment"

"Hugh Trimble has photos of two catfish. One, caught at Indian Lake, is healthy, sleek and silvery, weighing a full 14 pounds. The other, from a Lake Loramie tributary in Mercer County, is scrawny and yellowish with lip and anal tumors and parasites growing out of its flesh.

Trimble of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency pointed to the photo of the sickly fish. “This is a result of oxygen stress, we think.”

At the dawn of the environmental movement 40 years ago, “water pollution” brought to mind images of industrial chemicals flowing out of a factory drainage pipe directly into a waterway. Today, experts say, a large percentage of water pollution should conjure up a more pastoral image: that of a soaking rain pounding a farm field and sending rivulets of storm water snaking into ditches, creeks, rivers and lakes.

It may seem benign, but agricultural runoff can be loaded with nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients in manure and synthetic fertilizers. In excessive quantities they deplete oxygen in streams and, with fecal bacteria, make waterways unfit for recreational use and harmful to aquatic life."

Tom Beyerlein reports for the Dayton Daily News April 18, 2010.

Monday, April 19, 2010