Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Nitrogen?

At a March 6 meeting of the Planning Commission, Mike Carlson asked Dr. Paul Adamus a simple two-word question, "Why nitrogen?"  Mike was referring to the fact that Dr. Adamus' buffer proposal in the wetlands CAO draft had used nitrogen as a proxy for all other pollutants. Why did Dr. Adamus base all his wetland buffer calculations on nitrogen?

You can watch Dr. Adamus' reply in this clip. Referring to the 2007 Mayer meta-analysis of nitrogen, Dr. Adamus says, "Simply because it's the only published meta-analysis that there is out there. It's Best Available Science, so that's basically why we went with that."

This is not the first time Dr. Adamus has made this claim. Frequently, he has said that there is one and only one published meta-analysis that evaluated the relationship between buffers and pollutants: the Mayer 2007 paper which examined nitrogen.

The troubling aspect to Dr. Adamus' answer is that it is not true, and he apparently knew it wasn't true.  A few weeks after the March 6 meeting, a "new" meta-analysis of buffers with respect to four pollutants came to the public's attention, although it really wasn't such a new paper after all.  The peer-revewed "Zhang paper" had first been published online in 2009 and in print in 2010, old enough to make its way into our County's adopted Best Available Science (BAS).  When confronted with the Zhang paper at the next Planning Commission meeting, Dr. Adamus admitted that he knew of it, knew it was in our BAS, but preferred the Mayer paper, because, he added, Mayer's paper had a larger sample size.

Regardless of his reasons for preferring Mayer over Zhang, it does not explain why Dr. Adamus never mentioned the Zhang paper. Never.  It does not not explain why he repeatedly said there was only one published meta-analysis when he apparently knew that wasn't a true statement.

It turns out, had Dr. Adamus' buffer proposal been based on the Zhang paper instead of the Mayer paper, the resulting proposed buffer calculations might have resulted in smaller buffers.  As a result, I have a new question for Dr. Adamus?

Why hide Zhang?

No comments:

Post a Comment