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Nitrogen Growing Environmental Concern

Nitrogen Growing Environmental Concern

Turns out the nitrogen leaching to rivers - from a wide range of sources - is a significant source of a key greenhouse gas.

Researchers at Notre Dame University, working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say human-caused nitrogen loading in river networks is a potentially significant source of nitrous oxide emissions to the atmosphere. The research was reported in the journal Science Daily earlier this week.

Nitrous oxide is considered a key greenhouse gas detrimental to the environment. The finding that nitrogen transported to rivers and streams may be a significant source could be cause for future regulatory concern.

The university conducted multi-site experiments which researchers say establishes streams and rivers as an important source of the compound. The greatest levels of nitrous oxide were found in urban and ag watersheds from nitrogen-enriched areas. They say this study highlights the need to manage nitrogen before it reaches the water.

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