Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution Worse, Not Better

It has been almost 20 years since the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) was created to reduce, mitigate, and control hypoxia in the region, and over a year since its major deadline – to shrink the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico by 45% by 2015 – came and went. But not only is the Dead Zone larger, but the HTF recently extended its own deadline by 20 years.


Photo courtesy of Iowa Environmental Council

Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) groups find this unacceptable.

On April 25-26, the HTF met in St. Louis, and Ann Robinson of the Iowa Environmental Council – an MRC member – voiced the group’s concerns, stating, “It probably goes without saying that we and the public are frustrated that pollution issues from nitrogen and phosphorus in the Basin seem to be getting worse, and paths forward…are not being adequately addressed by this Task Force, despite its many positive activities.”

In August 2015, the so-called “Dead Zone” measured 6,474 square miles, approximately the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, an increase from the 5,052 square miles measured the previous year.

Also throughout the Mississippi River Basin, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution threaten drinking water supplies and cause toxic algae blooms that force beach closures on lakes and waterways.

Read more from the Iowa Environmental Council here.
Learn more about the Dead Zone here.

The Mississippi River Collaborative is funded by The McKnight Foundation.


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