SENR Seminar Series
The SENR Seminar Series welcomes Jennifer Tank, Galla Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of Environmental Change Initiative at University of Notre Dame. Dr. Tank will present Preventing coastal “dead zones” from a distance in 103 Kottman Hall.
Although you can't see nutrient pollution in streams and rivers, you can see the effects when there is too much of a good thing. Excess nutrient runoff from farm fields in the agricultural Midwest can enter streams and contaminate drinking water, harm sensitive species, and fuel downstream algal blooms and low-oxygen “dead zones” that cost millions of dollars a year to the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and millions more in the Great Lakes. Our research examines the benefit of multiple conservation strategies implemented in waterways and the surrounding landscape that can prevent excess nutrients from being transported downstream. We have paired the restoration of floodplains in formerly channelized ditches with the planting winter cover crops in surrounding fields and are quantifying their potential to reduce leaching of excess fertilizer nutrients into tile drains especially during winter and spring. Together, we predict these practices will reduce nitrogen and phosphorus headed for sensitive coastal systems, and help prevent dead zones and algal blooms from a distance.