It's Really Blooming!
Eutrophication and Great Bay
About Great Bay - Why it is affected (geograpically) by Eutrophication?
What is a HAB or a Dead Zone? How Does it form?
What Organisms are Involved? What are the Ecological Impacts?
Other, above ground habitats that surround the bay are home to out of water marine life such as birds. With the decline of marsh lands, these birds are loosing their habitats. Among these species being effected by eutrophication, is the rare Bald Eagle.
Also, humans could be effected due to ground wells being close to the Great Bay. And with little to no other options to get drinking water it shows to be quite the predicament.
Main Species effected:
- Shell fish
- Salt Marsh
- And other marine plants and animals
How Can We Fix this Problem?
Another way to help improve the status of the Great bay is to create man-made marsh lands. These marsh lands could suck up some of the excess nutrients and provide habitats for the marine life.
How Is Great Bay an Example of Eutrophication?
The nitrogen causing eutrophication comes from a variety of sources. 68% of the nitrogen in Great Bay comes from non-point sources, such as pollution, chemical fertilizers, human waste from septic systems, and domestic animal waste. The remaining 32% comes from waste water treatment plants that dump their waste into the estuary. Waste water treatment facilities account for 390 tons of nitrogen per year; non point sources account for another 835 tons of nitrogen, which totals to 1,225 tons of dissolved nitrogen entering the water source per year. (UNH Magazine, NH Dept. of Environmental Studies, Gulf of Maine Education Association, Conservation Law Foundation)
Eelgrass, when healthy, grows in thick, bright green beds with wide blades. In previous years, it spanned many acres of Great Bay's area. Recently the beds have been thinning to sparse, thin-bladed grasses of a duller color.
Previously in Great Bay, there were 900 oyster beds where healthy oysters thrived. As of 2014, there were only 80, as a result of humans over-fishing the species.
Sea lettuce is a type of algae that thrives in water with a high concentration of dissolved nitrogen. The picture above shows the massive concentrations of lettuce washed ashore during low tide.
What are the Economic Impacts?
Scientists, conservationists, and researchers also gain from Great Bay. They receive grants so that they may conduct research and experiments - which is how they are paid. Conservationists owe their careers to protecting the estuary - they join organizations and groups that pay them to fight for what they believe in. However, if there's nothing to research or protect, grant money and conservation jobs are lost.
Furthermore, in 2014 the EPA stated that all water dumped into Great Bay must be treated for nitrogen. Of course, this is needed and would be a major positive shift for the environmental aspect. The new standard would require a maximum of 3 ml of nitrogen per liter of water. This treatment would require hugely updated sewer systems that would cost double or triple the current sewer fees. (UNH Magazine, NH Dept. of Environmental Studies, Gulf of Maine Education Association)
What Can Be Done to Reduce, Eliminate, or Manage Excess Nutrients and Solve the Issue?
Of course, no change could happen without conservationists. It is important to build a strong voice for the Great Bay Estuary, so that local people can speak up and advocate for this beautiful, unique place. People must take the responsibility to protect this place, to support the policies and laws that will limit waste dumped into the bay, and to enforce current environmental laws to ensure that Great Bay gets all of the benefits from policies that have already been created. (UNH Magazine, NH Dept. of Environmental Studies)
NOAA. "Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve." National Estuarine Research Reserve System. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.
Kem, Mark. "Great Bay and the Seacoast." National Estuary Program 2005: 1-2. EPA. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.
K-12 Education Market, ed. NOAA. Market Analysis. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.
Barnum, Jeff. "The Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper." Conservation Law Foundation. CLF, 2016. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.
Anderson, David. "Septic Tanks and Nitrogen Pollution in the Great Bay Estuary." Save Great Bay. Lamprey River Advisory Committee, 28 June 2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.
GMMEA. "Human Presence in the Gulf of Maine." Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.
"Great Bay Estuary Overview." Great Bay Estuary | Coastal Program. New Hampshire Department of Enviornmental Services, 2013. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.