A new study by Waterloo Engineering researchers found that targeting wetland restoration in heavily farmed areas would dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
The researchers, who collaborated with a University of Waterloo alumnus who is now a professor at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), examined detailed data on wetland locations and nitrogen loads from fertilizer on farm fields throughout the United States.
In results published today in the journal Nature, their computer modeling showed that prioritizing wetland restoration close to heavily farmed areas would remove up to 40 times more nitrogen than the current ad hoc approach.
“You get much more bang for your buck if wetland preservation and restoration are targeted,” said Nandita Basu, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, and earth and environmental sciences at Waterloo. “From a policy perspective, it is dramatically more effective and efficient.”
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