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Agricultural Runoff Fueling Aquatic Overgrowth
Over the past several years, the backwaters of the upper Mississippi River have seen an increase in duckweed and algal blooms, growing into thick, green mats on the surface of the water. The free-floating flora is a nuisance for anglers, boaters and swimmers alike, but the overgrowth is problematic for the aquatic ecosystem as well.

Layers of scum can block out light, preventing photosynthesis in other species growing below the surface. Decomposing plants use up the water’s dissolved oxygen, choking out fish and forcing them into the main channel.

Efforts to reduce excess nutrients — particularly phosphorous — through adaptive land management are underway in Wisconsin, but more land use improvements are needed for the river to return to healthy levels.

 
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Farmers and Water Quality Win - Solving Minnesota’s water quality problems sometimes puts water quality at odds with agriculture. The Clearwater River Watershed District was honored with the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts’ Program of the Year for its Targeted Fertilizer Application Project: A unique, ongoing partnership with local agricultural co-ops and local farmers to protect lakes and streams while supporting farmers through optimized fertilizer use.


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