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What's Polluting our Rivers, Lakes, and Estuaries I: Phosphorus

First Paragraph:
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element that is essential for all plant and animal life, and is found in some amount in all natural ecosystems. It is necessary for critical functions in living cells and is found in the bones and teeth of many vertebrate animals. It is found in plant debris, animal wastes, and bound to soil particles. Because it is so common, some loading of phosphorus to waterbodies is natural, but human activities may increase this amount. In natural systems, phosphorus is often found in relatively low quantities in the soil. Because of this, fertilizers containing phosphorus are often added to lawns, gardens, and agricultural fields to promote optimum plant growth.
Publication Number:
Salvatore S. Mangiafico
Michele Bakacs
Amy Rowe
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
Date Published:
Number of pages:
pollution; rivers; lakes; estuaries; phosphorus; plants

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