Iowa farm runoff one of the major causes of an oxygen-depleted dead zone

Photo by USDAgov; Flickr

A recent study on the Gulf of Mexico’s oxygen levels shows that this year’s dead zone will be the biggest since 1985 and Iowa is a big part of it.

Iowa fertilizer runoff plays a key role in oxygen depletion of the dead zone, as the runoff kills algae which then decomposes on the ocean bottom. During its decomposition it consumes most of the available oxygen, causing marine life to die.

In response to this as well as local agricultural problems, the state government put together a voluntary and conservational plan called the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy which will direct funds towards restraining nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms.

For more information about the effects of runoff from Iowa farms click here.

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