NEW ORLEANS— Today, researchers at LSU released their annual estimates of the Dead Zone that forms in the Gulf of Mexico every summer. The Gulf Dead Zone forms due to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that flows from agricultural fields, sewage treatment plants, industrial animal operations, and chemical facilities, down the Mississippi River, and into the Gulf.
The estimate for the Dead Zone which will form in late July 2019 is predicted to be one of the largest on record. Louisiana State University researchers R. Eugene Turner and Nancy N. Rabalais predict the Dead Zone will cover 8,717 square miles and is 67% larger than the average Dead Zone. This year’s Dead Zone will be roughly the size of New Hampshire. The Dead Zone this year will be exacerbated by the large amounts of fresh water entering the Gulf of Mexico due to regional flooding.
It is not surprising that the Dead Zone is predicted to be another big one. Even though the Hypoxia Task Force was established over 20 years ago and has developed multiple “action plans,” there has been no significant reduction in the average size of the Gulf Dead Zone.
State and federal agencies continue to rely almost solely on voluntary reduction measures. Voluntary reduction measures have not worked up to this point, and yet they continue down this path. Until Louisiana, Mississippi River states, and Federal agencies start taking reductions seriously, the Dead Zone will continue to impact Louisiana’s $2.4 billion fishing industry.
Any of the above statement can be attributed to Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director, Healthy Gulf (formerly Gulf Restoration Network).
The original LSU announcement can be found at:
Founded in 1994, Healthy Gulf, formerly Gulf Restoration Network, is a nonprofit focused on empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico region.