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May 10

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What’s Up With Muck?

Some pretty stinky stuff is yucking up Great Lakes beaches—listen up.

Muck: Yucking up the shoreline in Saginaw Bay (Vijay Kannappan/NOAA)

Muck: Yucking up the shoreline in Saginaw Bay.
(Vijay Kannappan/NOAA)

Is it really a coincidence that muck rhymes with yuck? This stinky, slimy stuff looks gross. But what actually do we mean by the word muck?

Bretton Joldersma of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, explains that muck is decaying aquatic vegetation and algae that collects out in the bay, and then washes up on the shore. He studies the impacts of muck in Saginaw Bay, and says it keeps people off the beach, and may even hurt property values.

All this mucky business is caused by excess nutrients that wash into the water and make aquatic plants grow out of control. The runoff comes from farmland as well as residential septic systems and yards.

So, what can you do about it? Some simple ways to help include always using fertilizer sparingly, and keeping tabs on your septic system. Because nutrients are nothing to muck around with.

Hear More:

Bretton Joldersma talks about potential muck clean-up efforts.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/whats-up-with-muck/