Measurement Confirms Largest Dead Zone on Record

It’s official.

The annual Dead Zone measurement has been released and a lamentable record has been set. The 2017 Dead Zone off the coast of Louisiana is the largest since 1985, when the measurements began.

Today, researchers revealed the Dead Zone is nearly 9,000 square miles, or roughly the size of New Jersey. The oxygen-deprived area–devoid of any marine life–is primarily caused by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that flows to the Gulf via the Mississippi River from as far north as Minnesota. The pollution spurs massive algae blooms, and as they decay, they use up the oxygen the sea life needs to survive.


”This massive Dead Zone shows that current efforts from States and the Feds are woefully inadequate,” said Matt Rota, Senior Policy Director for Gulf Restoration Network. “Study after study has shown that everyone from EPA to state environmental departments need to step up their game. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened. In fact we just see the Dead Zone growing bigger and bigger.”

Dead Zone sizes since monitoring commenced in 1985. This year is the largest on record. Courtesy of Gulf Restoration Network.

“I honestly can’t see the EPA under the Trump administration taking the steps necessary, such as setting enforceable limits on Dead Zone-causing pollution, to reverse this alarming trend,” continued Rota. “It is time for industrial ag companies like Tyson that contribute to the pollution of the Mississippi and Gulf to do what is right and clean up their mess.”


The Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) has been pressuring EPA to force states to set pollution limits for over a decade, with EPA continuously refusing to do so.

MRC’s November 2016 report, “Decades of Delay,” revealed that no state adjacent to the Mississippi River has been effective in reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.