Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone & Private ForestsBy Lester Graham
April 7, 2009; Michigan Environmental Issues
Great Lakes’ Environment and Conservation News & Article
The city of Chicago is getting blamed for the Dead Zone; almost the size of NJ. About 40% of the continental U.S. drains into the Mississippi River system and that sends a lot of water and pollution from across the country into the Gulf of Mexico.
The way the Dead Zone works is nitrogen and phosphorus flow into the Gulf of Mexico and fertilize giant algae blooms. As the algae decays it robs the water of oxygen making it uninhabitable for fish. The U.S. Geological Survey ranked the worst offenders and say the most pollution comes from farm runoff, but cited sewage from Chicago and the single most contributor.
The state of Illinois receiving $256 million from the stimulus package to work on water and waste water systems.
There are 751 million acres of forest lands in the United States. More than half of it – 56% – is privately owned. Some of that land is owned by big timber companies. But the majority is owned by individuals and families. The American Forest Foundation represents those private landowners. Until last week, Larry Wiseman was CEO of the group. Lester Graham talked with Wiseman just before he left the organization. Wiseman says privately owned forests are at risk.
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