Federal scientists have measured the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico in recent history. The oxygen-depleted area is roughly the size of New Jersey. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the increasing dead zone was fed by nutrient pollution washing down the Mississippi River. NOAA says the nutrient runoff comes primarily from farms, as well as urban and suburban runoff. This type of pollution, called “non-point pollution” in the Clean Water Act, is not federally regulated and difficult to control. The nutrients cause massive algae blooms that suck oxygen from the water as they decompose. Scientists studying the problem said that to reach a goal of shrinking the dead zone down to 1,900 miles, runoff from the Mississippi River would have to be cut by 45 percent. A task force formed in 2001 set a goal of reducing the dead zone four and a half times smaller than it is today, missing the goal it set for 2015. The task force now says it will take another twenty years to reach its goals using voluntary, state-led reduction efforts.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.
Share this Post