Friends of Farm  Pond, Oak Bluffs, MA
 

Nitrogen

Excess Nitrogen is killing Farm Pond. The pond is at risk of becoming a giant, stinking cesspool. Although flushing the pond will create a temporary fix, we need to look for long term solutions to balancing the nitrogen levels in the pond.

Some of these long term solutions include:
  • Controlling and limiting the number of non-migratory birds living in the pond.
  • Upgrading the septic systems in the Farm Pond watershed.
  • Educating home owners in the Farm Pond watershed about how to limit the amount of nitrogen and other pollutants that they are contributing to the pond.

In a coastal pond, the water plants at the base of the food chain require nitrogen in order to grow and reproduce.
When a watershed supplies too much nitrogen, the algae growth takes off:
  • Microscopic phytoplankton increase dramatically, causing the water to become “cloudy” and, in extreme cases, green or brown.
  • Slime algae increases on the surfaces of pilings, rocks, and eelgrass blades.
  • Drift algae grow to excess, break loose and pile up onto shore or eelgrass beds.
The rampant growth of microscopic algae causes the green, murky look that makes pond and sea water uninviting and unhealthy. This excess plant material takes oxygen out of the water, suffocating aquatic life. Algae blooms also reduce the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the water. Valuable aquatic plants like eelgrass cannot photosynthesize in cloudy water and soon die off.



 

Where Does Nitrogen Come From?

Explanation excerpted from the Island Blue Pages.
Farm Pond Geese  

Farm Pond Geese

Large bird populations are also a source of nitrogen pollution to the ponds. The Geese community in Farm Pond contributes to the nitrogen pollution.
 

Farm Pond Watershed

Aerial images showing the Farm Pond Watershed.
 

Nitrogen and Septic Information

Links to other resources on Nitrogen and Septics
 

Take our Septic/Nitrogen quiz!

Test your knowledge. Take our septic/nitrogen quiz.
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