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The “Wonderful” Empire: How Land, Nuts and Water Made America’s Biggest Farmer

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

America’s biggest farmer, Stewart Resnick, continues to expand. But with California’s limited water resources, nature might just push back. Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in the United States and the overwhelming majority of his crops are rooted in the fertile lands of California, where the sunshine is plentiful, but the moisture is not. Along with his marketing guru wife, …

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Waterkeepers Fighting Harmful Algal Blooms from Coast to Coast

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

On the front-lines of the battle against harmful algal blooms and nutrient pollution are local Waterkeepers — water protection organizations spread around the United States and the world. America’s waterways are as different and unique as its geography and people. From small streams, rural ponds and pocket wetlands to mighty rivers, great lakes and massive estuaries, the United States depends …

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How Big Is Your Water Footprint? You’ll Be Surprised

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

Drought is all over the news. California is at the center of the coverage and rightly so, given the severity of the situation there. But take a look around the rest of the country and the Golden State is not alone. Washington and Oregon, states many associate with constant drizzle, have alarmingly low snowpack and declared drought emergencies across large portions of …

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Algal Doom: Mapping Harmful Algal Bloom Hot Spots Across the United States

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

As Algal Doom spreads with the rise of harmful algal blooms (HABs), everyone – from scientists to public officials, farmers to water treatment managers, boaters to environmentalists – is casting a wary eye toward “colorful” changes in their local waters. The prevalence of algal blooms make them hard to miss. Since toxic algae fouls water in every part of the United States …

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Algal Doom: The Many Colors of Algae and Their Potential Hazards

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

Algae are microscopic phytoplankton such as bacteria and dinoflagellates that use photosynthesis to turn sunlight into energy. These microorganisms are naturally occurring and live in all types of water, from fresh to salt to brackish (which is a mix of fresh and salt). Algae are common in water bodies where they consume carbon and nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. …

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Algal Doom: What Causes Harmful Algal Blooms?

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

These harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur when water is overloaded with nutrients, especially major ones like nitrogen and phosphorus that are necessary for plant growth, but become pollution in excess. To understand where nutrient pollution in water comes from, one of the primary places to look is land use. Some of the significant sources of nutrients include wastewater treatment plant discharges, …

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Toxic Algae Blooms and Agriculture: 5 Things to Know About Their Connection

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

The increase in frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms are a reminder that we need to make significant and lasting changes to the way we farm and produce our food, especially in reducing nutrient pollution. If you follow environmental or climate news, then you have probably noticed the rise in reporting about harmful algal blooms (aka toxic algae). Over the past …

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Farm Country Faces Water Pollution from Droughts and Rains Spurred by Climate Change

In articles about water use and quality, footprints

When it rains it pours…nitrogen pollution into rural waterways especially after periods of drought. A recent study made that link and begs the question: What will happen to water in farm country if this pattern keeps up? Sun-baked fields and bone-dry streambeds set the scene in 2012 as a severe drought gripped much of the Midwest. If farmers in the …