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Addressing Algal Blooms in Rocky Mountain National Park
August 06, 2015

BY DIANE LENKOWSKY 

Excessive amounts of nitrogen have brought a new and unwanted feature to the lakes and meadows of the Rocky Mountain National Park–algal blooms in the park’s high mountain lakes.

What is more interesting than the algal blooms themselves is the reaction of neighboring farmers.  Some farmers in the surrounding area are doing their part to reduce the amount of nitrogen levels in the park by participating in a voluntary conservation program.  This program alerts farmers to weather systems that are likely to carry nitrogen (in the form of ammonia) from their farms to the park so they can implement conservation measures in an effort to reduce the amount of nitrogen that ends up in the park itself.  So far, two-thirds of farmers have chosen to participate on their own volition.  It will take time to assess whether the program is a success.  If successful, famers and conservationists alike will benefit, and other states may look to this program in lieu of regulation to encourage natural resource users to implement conservations measures.  
 



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