A season of heavy flooding in the Mississippi River valley has poured fertilizer into the Gulf, sending nitrogen levels 35 percent higher than the 32-year average. The runoff water is perfect for algae blooms, which consume oxygen and cause marine life to abandon the northern Gulf or die. The dead zone is now on track to cover between 8,500 and 9,400 square miles, more than the 8,400 square miles recorded in 2002. The extra runoff is also slowing recovery from last summer's Deepwater Horizon disaster, which released upwards of 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean.
Read More from Reuters.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.