"Farm Runoff in Mississippi River Floodwater Fuels Dead Zone in Gulf"

"A dead zone -- already the size of the state of New Jersey -- is growing in the Gulf of Mexico, fueled by nutrient runoff from the swollen Mississippi River.

This year, with floodwaters from the Birds Point levee breach and the Morganza and Bonnet Carret spillways spreading over farmland and other residential areas, the river is collecting tremendous amounts of fertilizer and pesticides. This is contributing to what scientists say may become the largest dead zone ever, and posing a serious threat to already taxed marine life.

During the rainy season, fertilizer, animal waste, sewage and car exhaust wash into the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya rivers, flow south and empty into the mouth of the Gulf."

Jenny Marder reports for for PBS Newshour's The Rundown blog May 18, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"How Mississippi River Floods Could Save Louisiana's Sinking Coasts" (Christian Science Monitor)

Thursday, May 19, 2011