Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

1 minute read

March 1, 2024, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Rafael Rodrigues/Wirestock Creators / Adobe Stock

An analysis from the University of Rhode Island found that 2023’s wet weather led to increased water pollution in Northeastern bodies of water. According to Elizabeth Heron, director of the URI Watershed Watch program, “Bacteria counts were higher in many of our rivers and ponds, as well as coastal waters.”

One problem is an invasive bloom called hydrilla that stimulates the growth of toxic blue green algae. “Hydrilla forms dense mats at the water’s surface, changes pH, removes oxygen, restricts native plant growth, blocks nutrients for aquatic animals, and hinders irrigation, recreation and water flow.” Hydrilla, which comes from warmer climates, is thriving in the Northeast in part due to a warming climate.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 in University of Rhode Island

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