Suggests reasons for bay life decline

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 29, 2014 

I was surprised when I read in the article about Bellingham Bay that they thought that increased pollution was responsible for the decline in invertebrates at the bottom of Bellingham Bay. Certainly over the last 10 to 20 years there has been a decline in pollution going into Bellingham Bay with our industries leaving town. What I believe was totally forgotten in this report is that bottom dwelling organisms rely on food falling out of the water column and coming down to feed them. We have a large food web in the bay and it is all reliant on the primary producers, which are the algae. Algae require nutrients to live. The logging industry has been reduced and there is less erosion in our hills, which means less nutrients for the algae. The dairy industry has been required to contain their manure and keep it from washing into the river, which means there are less nutrients for the algae. Phosphorus has been removed from our fertilizers and hence less of it washes into the streams, which means less nutrients for the algae. The fact that we have fewer invertebrates on the bottom of Bellingham Bay probably proves that these measures to control "pollution" from entering the bay have been effective! Hurray! If they are finding more "toxins" it could be that there is not as much sediment coming down the river to cover it up.

Wayne Youngquist

Bellingham

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