Unique challenges bog down fight against nitrogen pollution

Monitoring a cranberry bog, it turns out, is a year-long process as snow melts and rain fills the bog with water that needs to be removed. How that water is removed and where it goes and what it does is the subject of an ongoing study at the test bog about cranberry farming’s effect on nitrogen pollution in the bay.

The complicated irrigation systems of cranberry bogs make monitoring their effect on the surrounding environment difficult, according to Carolyn DeMoranville, station director at the UMass test bog.

“There is a lot of manipulation involved in keeping the ideal conditions,” she said, standing at a pump monitor amid the purple-red vines and leaves of cranberry plants last Wednesday. “It gets very complex very quickly.”

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