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Cleaning the Waters of Massachusetts, Eliminating Ocean Dead Zones

Spring semester interns Hunter Lambert and Isobel Rounovski talk with Rob about cleaning the waters of Massachusetts. Last summer (2018) in Boston Harbor, thousands of menhaden fish were chased by striped bass into the Mystic River and all died quickly in an ocean dead zone. This area of no oxygen was the result of nutrients feeding an algal bloom. To stop such blooms and zones of death the input of nutrients must be reduced. A major source of this pollutant in the Mystic River watershed is fertilizer washed off of lawns.

We are calling for forty municipalities to modify their lawn care practices to stop nitrogen pollution. Hunter explained how by applying only one half pound of slow release nitrogen fertilizer in the fall, lawn owners need not apply five pounds per thousand square feet of lawn as recommended by the industry. This will also result in grass having healthier and deeper root systems. 80% or greater slow-release nitrogen also benefits soil microbes.

Isobel talked about the necessity of banning the use of the herbicide Roundup. Roundup was found responsible for a school groundskeeper developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are alternatives. A homemade herbicide can be made from a gallon of vinegar, cup of salt and a tablespoon of dish soap.

Please help with our campaign to clean the waters of Massachusetts by commenting on our letter. Please tell which town or city you care about. We’ll deliver your words to that community.