Series: The Yahara Watershed

Phosphorus is a well-known culprit for water quality problems in Wisconsin, and an excess of this nutrient in soils impedes efforts to clean up lakes. Several groups of people play critical roles in reducing phosphorus pollution and improving lakes – farmers, policymakers and scientists, to name a few – but how does the "average" person fit in?
Phosphorus is one of the most important components in the ongoing struggle to balance agricultural prosperity with water quality. What scientists call "legacy phosphorus" — or "legacy P," a common abbreviation — exists in a sort of nutrient limbo.
City centers typically are hotter than suburbs, which in turn tend to be hotter than rural areas, controlling for other factors. The more developed and densely populated an area, the more buildings, asphalt and other solid surfaces amplify and absorb the heat of the sun, usually with fewer plants to help cool things down.
The condition of the natural world is inextricably bound with the choices humans make. "Built" environments and "wild" areas do not exist distinct from each other; rather, both interact through complex relationships.
One organism, exploding in population, thrives at the expense of others in its ecosystem. That's essentially what happens when a toxic algal bloom spreads a slimy, stinky trail across a body of water.
The year 2070 may sound like an impossibly distant date from the vantage point of 2016, but it's as near into the future as John Glenn's first orbit of the Earth is in the past.