Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eutrophication boondoggle, as costly nitrogen control may actually be killing lakes After completing one of the longest running experiments ever done on a lake, researchers from the University of Alberta, University of Minnesota and the Freshwater Institute, contend that nitrogen control, in which the European Union and many other jurisdictions around the world are investing millions of dollars, is not effective and in fact, may actually increase the problem of cultural eutrophication.

The dramatic rise in cultural eutrophication—the addition of nutrients to a body of water due to human activity that often causes huge algal blooms, fish kills and other problems in lakes throughout the world—has resulted from increased deposits of nutrients to lakes, largely from human sewage and agricultural wastes.

For 37 years researchers looked at Lake 227, a small lake in the Canadian Shield at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Ontario, Canada, and examined the best ways to control the cultural eutrophication process of lakes by varying the levels of phosphorous and nitrogen added to the lake.

"What we found goes against the practices of the European Union and many scientists around the world," said David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta and one of the leading water researchers in the world. "Controlling nitrogen does not correct the polluted lakes, and in fact, may actually aggravate the problem and make it worse."...

Andrew Bossi took this photo of algae in a pond in Russett, Maryland. Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License


Anonymous said...

How do I get a copy of the full report

Brian Thomas said...

I haven't found the full article, but a press release from the University of Alberta (where the head researcher is located) can be found here: