Here's What Plagues 40% of U.S. Lakes

December 8, 2016 04:02 PM
Lake Erie

When asked to imagine a lake, most people would think of something calm and relaxing. But trouble is brewing in 4 out of every 10 U.S. lakes, according to a recent assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA’s National Lakes Assessment showed 40% of U.S. lakes suffer from too-high nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms, drop oxygen levels and degrade fish and wildlife habitat, among other things. The EPA also found low levels of atrazine in 30% of lakes.

“America’s lakes and reservoirs provide many environmental and public health benefits,” according to EPA deputy assistant administrator for water, Joel Beauvais. “We use lakes for drinking water, energy, food and recreations, and our fish, birds and wildlife depend on lakes for habitat. The National Lakes Assessment provides us with valuable information to help protect and restore our lakes across the country.”

This assessment is part of a larger series designed to provide a national-scale assessment of the nation’s water resources. Future surveys, conducted on a five-year basis, will allow for additional trends analysis, says Beauvais.

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