Aerial of Cows in Water

Hundreds of cows cool in water on daries along the Suwannee River. Rising nitrate levels -- most likely from farms and homes <br />
in the region -- cause concerns about the nutrient's effect on the environment and public health. <br />
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The Suwannee River basin is characterized by karst wetland and lowland topography with springs. In addition to making drinking water unsafe, high nitrate concentrations can lower water quality in rivers and springs, causing algae blooms that consume oxygen needed by fish and <br />
other aquatic animals. <br />
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The basin, which includes Lafayette and Suwannee counties, has hundreds of residential and commercial septic systems in rural areas, about 300 row crop and vegetable farms, 44 dairies with more than 25,000 animals and 150 poultry operations with more than 38 million birds.