The Dead Zone in the Gulf Part 2: Finding the Remedy

The scientists involved in recording history’s largest known dead zone are making waves in their effort to restore the Gulf of Mexico to a healthy equilibrium.

One group of researchers, known as the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, is actively working to contain the dead zone in the Gulf. Although high levels of rainfall have accelerated the flow of runoff into the Gulf in recent months, they have made it their mission to reduce the size of the dead zone from over 8,776 sq. miles to 1,950 sq miles by 2035. To help put this change into perspective, the area of the dead zone would be reduced from the size of New Jersey to the size of Delaware. According to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the amount of nitrogen runoff flowing through the Mississippi River would need to be reduced by 59 percent in order to reach their goal.

Clearly, this will require drastic measures to be taken if there’s to be any lasting hope of change. This will include a “dual-nutrient strategy”, targeting the reduction of phosphorus as well as nitrogen. A study led by Don Scavia, an aquatic ecologist from the University of Michigan, revealed that “despite more than $28 billion in government spending to reduce nitrogen runoff,” barely any difference has been made in the amount of nitrate flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

As stated by Scavia, “It matters little if the load-reduction target is 30 percent, 45 percent, or 59 percent if insufficient resources are in place to make even modest reductions.” Evidently, if anybody is going to revitalize the ecosystem of the Gulf, alternative strategies must be explored in order to reduce the negative side-effects of common agricultural practice. With the introduction of the Hy-Lite, Hydro-Check has provided an effective and affordable tool to check water quality. Whether you’re in the Gulf of Mexico or in your kitchen, the Hy-Lite is a sure-fire resource for anybody who understands the importance of maintaining water quality.