Record Gulf Dead Zone Is Expected

July 16, 2008–New York Times
Scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium predicted that this year’s summer dead zone off the Louisiana coast would be the largest ever and would threaten commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientists, who attributed the dead zone in large part to agricultural chemicals carried into the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers by this year’s severe Midwest floods, predicted it would cover about 8,800 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey. The previous record, in 2002, was almost 8,500 square miles; last year, the dead zone covered almost 8,000 square miles. The scientists said high nutrient levels in the water stimulate the growth of algae whose eventual decomposition depletes oxygen to the point that most marine life cannot survive