Runoff from agricultural lands is the biggest source of pollution in the
rivers and lakes surveyed for a 1996 EPA report released this May. The
"National Water Quality Inventory: 1996 Report" to Congress reports water
quality conditions in surface water, coastal areas, and groundwater, and
found about 40% of surveyed rivers, lakes, and estuaries are too polluted
for basic uses, such as fishing and swimming. Agriculture is the most
widespread source of pollutants in rivers and streams. Agricultural
activities may introduce siltation, nutrients, pesticides, and organic
matter that deplete oxygen in surface and ground waters. Agricultural
fertilizers and manure from animal operations is the most widespread
source of pollutants in lakes.
The National Water Quality Inventory is available at www.epa.gov/305b/.
You can click on any state to read a synopsis of water quality issues and
view a summary chart. There is also information for obtaining a copy of
the individual state reports. [If you don't have easy Internet access and
would like email and snail-mail address info for your state, just drop me
a line - Marla, email@example.com] I surfed through several NE
states to get an idea of the role of agricultural pollution in the NE
environment and how our food supply might be affected by other
pollution sources. The good news is that there are aggressive cleanup
activities in SOME of these areas, and that there has been vast
improvements in the past 25 years with passage of the Clean Water Act. In
MA and ME, for example, rivers described as "open sewers" and "unthinkable
to swim or fish in" now fully support aquatic uses and have seen fish
populations rebuild. Other random NE info:
In NJ, only 35% of surveyed streams have "good" water quality: bacteria
(unsafe for swimming) and nutrients are most common pollutants. Sadly,
all of the state's surveyed lakes are either actively deteriorating, or
In MA, nearly 70% of surveyed river miles have "good" quality; in VT
over 70% and in ME 99% of river miles are also "good" ("good" means fully
supporting aquatic life and activities).
All of ME's and NH's lake waters have fish advisories (due to fish
tissue levels of dioxin in ME and mercury in NH) and VT suspects
widespread mercury contamination, as well. Mercury is believed to be
carried in the atmosphere from more polluted upwind states. PA has 21 fish
consumption advisories due to PCB's and chlordane (a now-banned but
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
* Looking for contacts, resources, ideas, potential collaborators in
community food security and sustainable food system projects? The
Northeast Partnership (sponsor of this email list) has a database of
information on who's doing what in the Northeast. Over 150 contacts, and
growing. Contact me to to access information or to add to the database.
Marla Rhodes 617-627-2246; firstname.lastname@example.org
* "Eating Fresh from the Organic Garden State: A Year-Round Guide to
Cooking and Buying Local Organic Products" produced by NOFA-NJ, 128 page
resource guide with recipes, seasonal availability produce tables,
preservation/storage information, $14.95. 609-737-6848
* "Food Production And Environmental Stewardship: Examples of How Food
Companies Work With Growers" is available from Richard Kashmanian; Office
of Policy Development; Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation (2128);
U.S. EPA, 401 M St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20460; e-mail
* So what is community food security anyway, and how do I do it? Pick up a
copy of "Community Food Security: a Guide to Concept, Design and
Implementation" the destined-to-be-a-classic 1997 manual on the subject,
edited by Hugh Joseph and written by Hugh, Andy Fisher, and Mark Winne.
$15 (less to members of CFSC). Contact Andy Fisher at email@example.com;
CFSC, PO Box 209, Venice, CA 90294.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
7/5: "How can we create an effective campaign against the biotechnology
industry in the Northeast?," Institute for Social Ecology (ISE),
Plainfield, VT, 10-6.
What are the regional consequences of increasing biotech-driven corporate
consolidation in the agrichemical, seed, and pharmaceutical industries?
How can we effectively network among groups working on biotech issues in
the Northeast? If you plan on attending, please contact 802-229-0836
[editor's note: I believe this is primarily an ISE gathering but they
welcome others interested in the subject, so PLEASE call first]. Donation.
7/8-9: Community Connections! Farms, Food, Land, and People. A middle
school educator course. Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT. 802-985-8686.
10/23-25: The Community Food Security Coalition will be holding its second
annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. Stay tuned for more info.
12/11-12: NESAWG Resource Harvest, Rurgers Conference Center, New
Brunswick, NJ. This year's theme for the Northeast Sustainable
Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) event is "Sustainable and Secure:
Reshaping Our Region's Food System." Workshops, speakers, networking,
displays, plus building a document reflecting our shared analysis and
vision of the NE food system. 413-323-4531.
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