How did the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico form?
A dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico in response to nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River watershed. Nutrient-rich runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural lands and sewage causes the summer dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico .
What are the effects of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, estimates that the dead zone costs U.S. seafood and tourism industries $82 million a year. The impact could be devastating to the Gulf’s seafood industry, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the nation’s seafood.
How can we fix the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico?
The key to minimizing the Gulf dead zone is to address it at the source. Solutions include: Using fewer fertilizers and adjusting the timing of fertilizer applications to limit runoff of excess nutrients from farmland. Control of animal wastes so that they are not allowed to enter into waterways.
What is the Gulf of Mexico dead zone and when does it happen?
This lack of oxygen creates the Dead Zone in bottom waters on the Texas-Louisiana shelf throughout warm summer months. This occurs when there are fewer storms and strong winds to mix the warm, oxygenated surface waters and the cooler, deeper waters.
Who is responsible for the Gulf of Mexico dead zone?
Foul Waters The primary culprit responsible for the growing size of the dead zone is an increasing supply of nitrogen dumped into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River. Nitrogen levels discharged from the river have nearly tripled since the 1950s, with an annual average since 1980 of 1.6 million metric tons.
Is the Gulf of Mexico a dead zone?
Funding source: NOAA. The 2018 Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or “ dead zone ” measured 7,040 square kilometers (2,720 square miles), the fourth smallest area mapped since 1985.
Is the Gulf of Mexico still polluted?
A decade after the BP oil spill: Sick fish, Gulf pollution , and human health problems. The BP oil continues polluting the gulf even today, according to recently released findings by scientists from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Sciences. It’s still affecting fish and other marine species.
How many dead zones are there?
415 dead zones
Where is the largest dead zone?
Gulf of Mexico
Can the dead zone be prevented from forming?
Dead zones are not irreversible. From 1985-2000, the North Sea dead zone had nitrogen reduced by 37% when policy efforts by countries on the Rhine River reduced sewage and industrial emissions of nitrogen into the water. Solutions. Voluntarily stop fertilizer and waste runoff into lakes, rivers, and streams.
How do dead zones affect humans?
When the algae eventually dies, the oxygen in the water is consumed. Elevated nutrient levels and algal blooms can also cause problems in drinking water in communities nearby and upstream from dead zones . Harmful algal blooms release toxins that contaminate drinking water, causing illnesses for animals and humans .
Where are some dead zones?
Dead zones occur in coastal areas around the nation and in the Great Lakes — no part of the country or the world is immune. The second largest dead zone in the world is located in the U.S., in the northern Gulf of Mexico .
What organisms live at the bottom of the Gulf?
The Gulf of Mexico is home to thousands of different species including fish, mammals, turtles, plants, and more. Sea plants include seagrasses, marine algae , mangroves, and marsh grass. They provide habitats for countless creatures including fish, shrimp, bivalves, plankton, and other marine animals.
When did the Gulf of Mexico dead zone start?
How big is the Gulf of Mexico dead zone 2019?
approximately 6,952 square miles