A study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that nutrient pollution in New England and the Gulf of Maine has increased over the last 15 years, due to pesticide use, stormwater runoff, and sewage leaks.
Increasing concentrations of the nutrients phosphorous and nitrogen have caused "eutrophication" in the Gulf of Maine, a process by which excessive nutrients enable an algal population boom that consumes massive amounts of oxygen and effectively strangles other ocean life. As coastal development increases, stormwater runoff, agricultural pesticides, and sewage leaks contribute to the eutrophication of the coastal waters.
"'Our study found that the problem is greater in the mid-Atlantic region, which has a higher population density and more intensive watershed development than coastal New England.'"
"New England, however, has similar problems that are likely to get worse. The study's results indicated that nutrient pollution in the Gulf of Maine is higher than it was early 1990s, and conditions are expected to worsen as the coastal population in that region is expected to increase in the future."
"'By including the socioeconomic impacts of pollution in coastal watersheds, we not only prove the value of applying integrated coastal and ocean observing technology in coastal management issues, but also in promoting a coastal stewardship that more fully evaluates the environmental impacts of development and other human activity,' said John H. Dunnigan, director of the NOAA Ocean Service."