Scientists Predict Largest Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Ever
By Matt Rota, Gulf Restoration Network. The prediction of the largest ever Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico for this summer, released by LUMCON and LSU, is another harsh reminder that our country must work aggressively to clean up the Mississippi River. The solely voluntary mechanisms currently promoted to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution that cause the Dead Zone will not alone solve the problem. The EPA must use all of its available tools to reduce Dead Zone-causing pollution, which include setting numeric limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution allowed in the Mississippi Basin, and developing a clean-up plan that includes solid goals and deadlines.
Gulf Restoration Network, as a member of the Mississippi River Collaborative, petitioned EPA to do what it is required to do to under the Clean Water Act to address the Dead Zone in 2008. Almost three years later, the EPA still hasn’t responded to this petition, and the Dead Zone continues to plague the Gulf impacting wildlife and coastal communities. The EPA must stop dragging its feet in addressing the Dead Zone.
You can find the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium / Louisiana State University Dead Zone prediction release at:http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/Research/Shelfwide%20Cruises/2011/HypoxiaForecast2011.pdf
Image: Cropped graphic of 2010 dead zone, from report above.
Matt Rota is Science and Water Policy Director at the Gulf Restoration Network.