Fouling the waters: Shellfish harvest put on hold by stormwater runoff

Fecal coliform bacteria levels are off the charts:

High levels of fecal bacteria have prompted state environmental officials to close some coastal and inland waters to harvesting oysters, clams and mussels. The 2,450 acres stretching across eight counties will be off-limits until further notice, state environmental officials announced.

The bacteria comes from human and animal waste that enters the stormwater, which then flows into the harvest areas. Over the past several years, above average rainfall along the coast has washed that waste into the water. The cumulative effects of that runoff emerged in recent testing that showed bacterial levels have exceeded safe levels.

This is what happens when you ignore or downplay irresponsible behavior in favor of "economic gains," or whatever the rhetorical twist of the day is. Human waste is bad enough, but when you've got ten million factory hogs and hundreds of millions of chickens and turkeys, it's no wonder the coast is drowning in shit. And of course, spraying that liquefied mess all over the surface of plowed farmland just helps it on its way downstream when the rains come. But let's not get too involved in their business, because freedom. Or something.

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