Over $2 million and going strong ….
JJ Watt is raising money for Harvey’s disaster relief
The tragic events affecting millions of people living in the path of Hurricane Harvey are being immediately reported and followed by scores of people around the planet. Harvey has been called a 500-year storm, carrying such force that there is in any given year less than a .002% chance of a storm of this power occurring.
The devastation is epic, and watching in real-time it is hard to imagine things getting worse. Although no estimates can be firm at this point, it is safe to say that bricks and mortar clean-up and reconstruction will take months, if not years, to complete.
Some of Harvey’s damage, however, is now more or less going sight unseen. It will, however, soon become all too obvious.
In the coming weeks and months, any who take a cruise through, or fly over, the Gulf of Mexico may see first-hand another awful bi-product from Harvey’s torrential downpours.
Perhaps even larger.
A discussion on whether this human-promoted environmental disaster could have at least been reduced in its magnitude is, at this point, idle chatter. This mess, unlike bricks and mortar destruction, cannot be repaired. It will not be halted.
All this is 100% understandable – if not 100% preventable. It is about farm animals, and agriculture.
Lots of animals.
Lots of manure.
Lots of phosphorus.
Lots of Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) creating lots of deadzones.
Hurricane Harvey has left a path of destruction that will take Texans years to repair. Sadly, for life in the Gulf of Mexico and for the many thousands people who make their living fishing the Gulf, or work in tourist trades that abound around the Gulf, the farm runoff damage this go-around cannot be undone. It will be massive, and irrevocable.
To the degree that farms provided insufficient grass buffers between waterways and cropped land, tilled marginally productive sloped acres, or — worst of all — poorly managed manure and fertilization levels, the environmental damage from Harvey will be proportionate to the negligence.
Fact: farms can always, within reason, do better managing land and manure.
The filthy aftermath of Hurricane Harvey will make that, in an obvious play on words, perfectly clear.
Tracking the recent farm runoff legislation strategies in Iowa and Minnesota, it becomes clear – to the surprise of few – that attempts to formalize legislation aimed at curbing farm runoff will be met with staunch resistance.
This does not bode well for residences amongst and downstream of agricultural operations. Such operations continue to struggle with controlling the runoff they create from excessive animal manure.
practices for reducing farm runoff. Ag runoff, as has been mentioned many times here, is the primary contributor to harmful algae blooms (HABs). As ever, best practices always include creating sizable grass buffer spaces between cropped land and waterways.
Grass which carries a clear benefit for farmers. It can (and should) be harvested to feed and bed farm animals.
Such a basic strategy makes great sense when proposed in a vacuum. But, for farmers striving to pull every bit of revenue from each acre, such an approach may not always make financial sense. And, clearly, farmers have little interest in more governmental involvement — as is presented regarding Iowa legal battles in this recent article from US News and World Report.
The push-and-pull here is inevitable, oh-so predictable, and the least productive method for solving the nationwide and global challenge of HABs.
As Spring soon rolls into the Midwest, the ugly reality of melting snow across hundreds of thousands of manure fertilized fields again manifests. And the picture is not pretty.
In recent years Lake Erie has experienced Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) larger than the size of New York City. Most of this pollution — which comes in the form of phosphorus — empties into the Western Ohio part of the Lake via the Maumee River basin.
Since the Cuyahoga River Basin contains over 15%, or nearly 2,000,000 people, of the State of Ohio’s population, it is popular to contend that these cities are responsible for the pollution. But this argument falls flat, according to a report from LakeErieAlgae.com.
The differences in how heavy spring rainfalls affect phosphorus loads in two watersheds – the Maumee and the Cuyahoga – show the different impacts of non-point sources (like the primarily agricultural lands in the Maumee River basin) and point sources (like the urban and industrial lands in the Cuyahoga River basin, which houses nearly 15% of Ohio’s population). Both watersheds occasionally have combined sewer overflows (CSOs), but research suggests these volumes pale in comparison to the river volume during storms.
In short, the Maume River, flowing through the mostly agricultural Maumee River Basin, is responsible for the vast majority of the phosphorus pouring into Lake Erie. And this phosphorus is the key trigger to HABs.
Watch closely as Spring 2017 approaches. HABs will result no matter what but, should heavy rains accompany the annual melting of snow, record HABs will again be reported across not just Lake Erie, but throughout the USA and beyond.
Summer HABs will be explained in no small part by Spring meltdown and precipitation levels.
The connection is indisputable.