In a new report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation calls on farms in the bay’s watershed to “urgently accelerate and scale up” their conservation efforts, not only to reduce water-borne pollution — a federal mandate — but to slash their greenhouse gas emissions and stoke local economies.
Iowa State University professor Lisa Schulte Moore, a creator of prairie strips in farm fields to markedly reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss, won a $625,000 MacArthur Foundation genius grant on Tuesday. Schulte Moore, one of 25 winners announced by the foundation, was described as a …
Potentially toxic algae blooms, which are caused by farm runoff and urban wastewater running into streams and lakes, have cost an estimated $1.1 billion over the past decade in the United States, and that "is almost certainly a significant undercount," said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.
More than 40 percent of private wells tested positive for coliform bacteria at least once over a 16-year period, according to a new study of Iowa state records by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council.
Some 169 toxic algal blooms were reported in 40 states in 2017, compared to only three blooms in 2010, says the Environmental Working Group in a report released today that names agricultural runoff as a primary factor. The EWG says farmers should be required to meet basic standards for control of nutrient runoff because voluntary efforts are insufficient.
The annual Plowprint report by the World Wildlife Fund estimates 2.5 million acres of virgin grasslands in the Great Plains were converted to cropland, or energy and urban development last year. While it's a smaller loss than the 3.7 million acres of 2015, the perennial loss of grasslands is a threat to water quality and wildlife habitat in the Plains, which stretch from Texas into the Canadian prairies.
"Simple and familiar conservation practices, if applied in the right places," are key to reducing worrisome levels of nitrates and other types of farm runoff in the drinking water of rural communities, says the Environmental Working Group. In a report, "Trouble in farm country," the green group said stewardship of all working land should be a requirement for growers who want farm and crop insurance subsidies.
Planting thin strips of native grasses and flowers at the edges of cropland delivers a broad range of conservation benefits— from reducing soil loss and runoff to attracting pollinators — according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Marine scientists estimate the low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico covers a record 8,776 square miles, or one-seventh of the basin. "This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed, is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf," said NOAA.
A bill in the South Carolina legislature would make it significantly harder for residents to challenge the state’s expanding poultry industry. If lawmakers pass the bill, South Carolina will be the latest in a series of states to make it harder for rural communities to resist or even carefully regulate large-scale livestock farming.
Voluntary action will not clean up Iowa waterways, so the state Legislature must "create bold laws that address water pollution," said Bill Stowe, chief executive of the Des Moines Water Works. The utility's board of trustees decided to seek a legislative solution to high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River rather than appeal the dismissal of their lawsuit against drainage districts in three counties in northwestern Iowa.
Days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works against farm runoff, the City Council voted to support a bill in the Iowa House allowing regionalization of the water utility, said the Des Moines Register. The chief executive of the Water Works says the regionalization bill, sponsored by a legislator who is a hog farmer, is retaliation for the lawsuit, which wanted to apply water pollution laws to agricultural runoff.
“Climate change and the flow of farm chemicals and coastal sediment into the waters that wash over one of Australia’s most significant nature areas, the Great Barrier Reef, pose the biggest threats to its survival, according to a government report to Unesco released early Friday,” says The New York Times.