How Nutrients Harm the Bay

How Nutrients Harm the Bay

  1. Excessive nutrients cause algae to grow rapidly. When the algae decompose, they use up a lot of oxygen in the water, depriving fish and shellfish of the oxygen they need to live. Fish kills occur during these “low oxygen” or “hypoxic” events.

    Runoff nutrients around a storm drain
  2. Nutrient pollution clouds the water, robbing eelgrass of the sunlight it needs to grow. Eelgrass is a primary source of food and shelter for many marine species, including economically important finfish and shellfish. It also protects the shoreline by dampening wave energy and reducing erosion. Eelgrass is widely recognized as a key indicator of estuary health. Unfortunately, Narragansett Bay, once teeming with eelgrass, has lost 90 percent of its eelgrass beds.
  3. Excess nutrients can create large, deep mats of sea lettuce—a type of seaweed—depriving bottom-dwelling marine plants and animals of sunlight and oxygen. When these mats of algae wash up on shore, the stench of the decaying seaweed makes for unpleasant beaches.
  4. Excess nutrients can lead to overproduction of certain kinds of phytoplankton, which can cause diseases in fish, shellfish and people.

*Please note:  Be sure to access the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus through the main entrance on Harborside Blvd. Your GPS may suggest taking Ernest Street to JWU’s Shipyard Street entrance, but that route requires a key card for entry.  

From Route I-95 North or South, take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue). Head downhill on Thurbers Avenue to US Route 1A (Allens Avenue). Turn right onto Allens Ave. Continue southbound on Allens Ave. into Cranston, where Allens Ave. becomes Narragansett Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside Blvd. at the traffic light by the Shell gas station. Follow Harborside Blvd. through the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. At the end of Harborside Blvd., turn right onto Save The Bay Drive. Save The Bay Drive becomes a circular, one-way roadway as you approach the Bay Center. Parking is available in four guest lots after you pass the main building. Enter the building through the main entrance.