I Water and the Environment I Water and the Environment

Atrazine: Protecting Streams and Rivers

For millennia, farmers had one means to fight weeds — constant plowing. But this churning of the earth destroys critical nutrients, beneficial organisms and, worst of all, causes severe erosion and soil runoff — which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identifies as the No. 1 pollutant of American waterways.

Now, thanks to atrazine, farmers are revolutionizing how the land — and the water it impacts — are treated.

Increasingly, farmers are adopting a new form of agriculture that requires little or no plowing called “no-till.” Enabled by atrazine, no-till can reduce erosion by 90 percent or more.

In all, atrazine and similar compounds save up to 150 million tons of soil a year from erosion, enough to fill more than 5 million dump trucks.

Imagine that — 5 million dump trucks pulling dirt out of our rivers and streams.