Eutrophication

This word comes from the Greek, meaning “well fed.” If a stream or water body becomes overloaded with nutrients, plants and algae grow excessively, then die, and gradually accumulate in the water. The process is known as eutrophication. In some lakes and rivers eutrophication can occur naturally over a long period of time, but human activity speeds it up! Reservoirs can also be subject to eutrophication. Nutrients are critical for life, and insufficient nutrients can lead to water bodies with little life in them. These water bodies would require the addition of nutrients to reestablish productive fisheries. The objective is to maintain the nutrient balance appropriate to life in the water. Eutrophication is more likely to occur in warmer water. Eutrophic water bodies generally have the following:

• Lower overall oxygen levels and big differences between day and night time levels
• Lower biological diversity than desired
• Different species from non-eutrophic water
• Higher nutrient levels
• Overall poorer water quality