EDMONTON - A University of Alberta ecologist says governments shouldn't be wasting money on controlling nitrogen to stop algae blooms in lakes.
David Schindler says lawmakers should focus instead on controlling phosphorus — something that can be accomplished at only a fraction of the cost.
Numerous studies have linked summer algae blooms to both nitrogen and phosphorus getting into water through sewage and fertilizer.
But in a peer-reviewed paper, Schindler concludes that phosphorus is the real enemy.
Schindler says studies blaming nitrogen for blooms are short-term and do not take into account a lake's entire ecosystem.
He reached his conclusions based on studies he did himself on nitrogen in the 1970s and '80s, as well as on a year-long review of about 500 other reports on the subject.