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Conserving the Devonshire Avon from source to sea

NUTRIENT LEVELS IN THE ESTUARY

by | Nov 17, 2009 | Observations | 0 comments

algal bloomThe presence of Sea Lettuce in the estuary over the summer at Bantham  is suggestive of high nutrient levels in the water (N & P)- a common phenomenon around our UK coasts (remember also the dire situation on the French coast this summer, where the public health and environmental problems caused by algae were very severe).  Overgrowth with these marine algae can upset the balance of estaurine and riverine ecosystems by suffocating slower growing plant species and lowering oxygen levels in the water.

 

DEFRA is encouraging farmers to reduce agricultural run-off of fertilisers, etc. into waterways through, for example, the Catchment Sensitive Farming Initiative which includes the Avon as a full member this time, and the declaration of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) in which manure application to the land is controlled – the East bank of the estuary is now a NVZ.

In addition, we can all do our bit to lower the nutrient content of river water by restricting our use of detergents containing phosphates.  Instead, substitute an alternative.  And why not use your ‘grey’ washing water in your garden?  You could water and nourish your plants at the same time!

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