Last week, scientists announced the measurement of yet another massive Dead Zone that has formed at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Stretching the Louisiana coast all the way to Texas, the Gulf Dead Zone has doubled in size over the past 25 years. This year it is bigger than Connecticut.
Dead Zone-causing pollution causes environmental problems in the Gulf and seriously threatens the diversity of species and the $2.8 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry in the Gulf.
In response to a formal request by Gulf Restoration Network and Mississippi River Collaborative, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declined to take responsibility for setting regulations to limit Dead Zone-causing pollution and implementing a clean-up plan. A unified plan with pollution limits for all states is needed to protect Gulf marine life and the livelihood of many coastal residents.
Despite this disappointing decision, GRN continues to focus on reducing Dead Zone-causing pollution in rivers and employs a number of strategies to reduce the size of the Dead Zone:
- As states develop limits for how much nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is allowed in water bodies, we work to ensure that these limits protect aquatic life and decrease pollution entering the Gulf.
- GRN works as a leader in the Mississippi River Collaborative which brings together experts from the 10 states along the Mississippi River to find ways to reduce water pollutants and enforce the Clean Water Act.
- We monitor and push for enforcement of permits to polluters who are dumping nitrogen and phosphorus pollution into our rivers and streams.