On the Radio: Iowa’s runoff creates Gulf Coast “Dead Zone”


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Listen to this week’s radio clip on Iowa’s infamous contribution to the Dead Zone, which continues to plague the Gulf Coast Region.

Dead fish, damaged industry and dirty drinking water – Iowa is making a huge impact in the Gulf Coast region.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

That’s because of farm runoff. It doesn’t just pollute our rivers and streams; it flows down the Mississippi River and helps form the Dead Zone, which has plagued the Northern Gulf of Mexico for decades.

Iowa is one of nine states that combine to deliver over 70 percent of all nitrogen and phosphorous to the dead zone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pollution gathers in the Gulf and forms a pocket of water that lacks the oxygen to support sea life. This has taken a toll on fishing and recreation in the region.

From July through September, the dead zone measures at least 8,000 square miles – about the size of 14 Iowa counties.

We can keep those waters cleaner by capturing more pollutants in wetlands, filter strips and riparian zones. We’ve done some of it, but we can do more.

For more information, and to read about Iowa researchers’ work in the Gulf Coast, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Environmental Research.

Thank you.

Last week the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa State researchers are hoping to aid people in the Gulf Coast by researching ways to keep shrimp alive. Read about the efforts of other Iowa researchers to aid the Gulf Coast:

And check out these potential solutions to the Dead Zone.

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