Eutrophication is a process whereby excess loading of nutrients, sediments, or elevated temperatures leading to Eutrophication of waterways may occur when excess nutrients are present and environmental conditions promote algal growth. Water quality issues associated with eutrophication include: increased algal biomass (including potentially toxic species), increased turbidity, alterations in dissolved oxygen (DO), decreased biodiversity, and decreased aesthetic value of the waterway from smell and color changes. Severe eutrophication over large areas can create anoxic (low-oxygen) conditions, which may contribute to fish kills, and other detrimental effects to the environment.
In general, sources of nutrients in watersheds include: urban runoff, fertilizers, groundwater, livestock, wastewater treatment plants, and septic systems. Specifically for the Lower Salinas River Watershed (Anderson et al. 2003)  identified irrigated agriculture as the dominant source of nutrients in watersheds in the region.
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