Today’s Solutions: May 25, 2022

Marine dead zones refer to areas of the ocean which are too low in oxygen to support life. In the Gulf of Mexico, runoff from agricultural operations, mostly nitrogen and phosphorus, travels down the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, contributing to an overgrowth of algae and a widening dead zone in the Gulf. Curbing the use of fertilizers in agriculture is one way to slow the growth of dead zones, but a new study from the University of Waterloo and the University of Illinois Chicago finds that pairing that strategy with wetlands protection could offer enormous marine health benefits.

The researchers note that fertilizer reduction and wetlands conservation, while always beneficial, don’t necessarily correlate with areas where runoff is highest. However, a 10 percent increase in wetlands in the US, focused in heavily farmed areas, could remove up to 40 times more nitrogen. These heavily farmed areas include the Mississippi Basin, where a 22 percent increase in wetlands would yield a “54 percent decrease in nitrogen loading to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Wetlands restoration isn’t cheap一the researchers estimate that a 10 percent increase would cost $3.3 billion annually一but the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico now measures 5,400 square miles and compared to the destruction of profitable fisheries and critical marine habitat, many feel it is a small price to pay. Plus, wetlands restoration offers numerous other ecological benefits including habitat conservation, flood prevention, carbon sequestration, and improved water quality.

Source study: NatureMaximizing US nitrate removal through wetland protection and restoration

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Urban greenery could have saved how many lives?!

        Source study: Frontiers in Public Health - Benefits of Increasing Greenness on All-Cause Mortality in the Largest Metropolitan Areas of the United States Within the Past Two DecadesRead More

Mining companies decide against mining Brazil’s Indigenous areas

An important part of the growing movement for the rights of nature is empowering indigenous peoples to steward their lands. Indigenous forests sequester twice as much carbon as those on private or public lands, and ... Read More

Millionaires join activists in Davos to demand higher taxes on the wealthy

Last Sunday, a group of millionaires joined activists in Davos to protest the annual gathering of business and political elites organized by the World Economic Forum. The group demanded that governments start taxing the rich ... Read More

Kyiv opera house holds first performance since start of Russian invasion

In the early hours of February 24, the cultural life of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities came to halt as the country braced to endure the invasion of Russian forces. After three months, Ukraine is ... Read More

Got old electronics? Here’s how to dispose of them properly

Do you have a digital camera? Do you still use it, or does it sit quietly in a desk drawer, out of a job thanks to your iPhone? With the rate at which technology advances ... Read More

It’s going to be a hot summer—Here’s how to handle heat stroke

Last year’s summer already saw record-high temperatures in the United States and Canada, especially across the central and western areas. However, weather reports for summer 2022 also promise a scorcher this year, with hot temperatures ... Read More