Freshwater statement on MPCA nitrogen pollution report

The Freshwater Society made this statement about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s report on nitrogen pollution of surface waters:

The MPCA report is good work. It demonstrates the magnitude of Minnesota’s nitrogen pollution problem – 306 million pounds per year flowing into our rivers and streams. That nitrogen imperils fish and other aquatic life both here and downstream, it contributes to the oxygen-depleted Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and it threatens drinking water.

And the report documents that the vast majority of that pollution, an estimated 73 percent, is produced by agriculture.

What the report does not do is provide any concrete recommendations for change. The Freshwater Society calls on Minnesota’s farmers, policy-makers and citizens to make the difficult and expensive choices necessary to significantly reduce the pollution.

This report should make it clear that we need a cultural shift in our agricultural practices; what we grow and how we are growing it.

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