Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

 
Healthy Waters - Home

 

Overview

The Gulf Restoration Network works to protect and restore waters throughout the Gulf of Mexico that are critical to recreation, fisheries, wildlife habitat, and drinking water.

Despite much progress made under the Clean Water Act, many waters flowing into the Gulf remain polluted with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and other contaminants. Every summer, nitrogen pollution from the Mississippi River forms a “dead zone,” an area where aquatic life cannot survive, off the coast of Louisiana and Texas that is roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts. In addition, high levels of bacteria from municipal sewage treatment plants and urban runoff force the closure of beaches throughout the Gulf. The GRN is working to end these water pollution problems through a multi-faceted approach that includes public education, empowerment of citizen groups, technical review of government policies, and legal action when necessary.

 

The Issues

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where oxygen levels in the water are too low to support life.  The Dead Zone forms seasonally off the coast of Louisiana and Texas.  Those fish, crabs, and shrimp that can swim away from the Dead Zone do so, while others simply die. Read More...

 

Sewage

Pollution from untreated sewage is a problem in many Gulf communities.  In 2006, beaches in the Gulf States were closed or had swimming advisories for a combined total of 3,208 days due to elevated levels of bacteria in the water.  Much of the bacteria came from sources such as sewage spills, septic tanks, and other runoff from developed areas. Read More...

 

Hattiesburg Sewage

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, aging and outdated sewage lagoons are failing to keep pace with a growing population and the needs of local industries - causing numerous violations of clean water laws and an awful stench that lingers over the city during warmer months. This not only threatens the health of local rivers and streams, but also the economic and recreational potential of the region. Read More...

 

Mississippi River

As the River meanders southward, it picks up contaminants, including sediment, mercury, and pesticides. In addition, nutrients from upstream farms using excess fertilizer, urban storm sewers, and sewage treatment plants combine to create a “dead zone” in the Gulf. Read More...

 

Clean Water Act

Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act, in 1972. The Act's mission was to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters." The Act laid out as its main goals: (1) zero discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States by 1985 and (2) fishable and swimmable waters by 1983. None of which have been met. Read More...

 

Oil and Gas in Mississippi

Up until now, Mississippi waters have remained mostly free from oil and gas activities like seismic exploration, drilling and production. That could soon change if the Mississippi Development Authority succeeds in its efforts to open state waters to oil and gas activities, and this could have a big impact on the health of the coastal economy and environment. Read More...

 

Dams

As the rest of the nation takes great measures to remove dams, proposals to dam our Southern creeks and rivers remain popular.  More often than not, dam projects are for "lake front" developments.  These private developments alter the health and quality of and inhibit public access to waterways which are public resources. Read More...