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Kelp, Commerce, and Cleaner Water

Only 80 miles east of New York City, the Peconic Estuary on Long Island remains relatively pristine. Over time, the wetland is being affected by development and harmful algal blooms, like the brown tide that devastated the local scallop industry in 1985. The Cornell Cooperative Extension in Suffolk County, New York, is investigating whether sugar kelp can be grown commercially and help improve local water quality. ”Part of our project is not only testing feasibility for growth of kelp, but also to see whether or not there is a ready market and how we can collaborate with businesses on Long Island to produce it and grow it and hopefully sell it in the future,” said Chris Pickerell, marine program director at Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk County. Pickerell says the sugar kelp can be used for food, fertilizer, and even medicine. It also helps the environment because kelp removes nitrogen and carbon from the water.

Read more about the Suffolk County Extension aquaculture study.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

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Plant health, production, and products;
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment;
Agriculture economics and rural communities
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