Last month, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality participated in a biannual meeting of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force in Baton Rouge.
The hypoxic, or low-dissolved oxygen, “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the second largest in the world and stems from nutrient pollution flowing from the Mississippi River. The dissolved nutrients cause large algal blooms and corresponding algal die-offs, which remove oxygen from the lower levels of water in the Gulf and make those areas unsafe for various forms of marine life.
The Hypoxia Task Force is composed of state and EPA officials working to better understand and mitigate this phenomenon. LDEQ presented several pollution reduction efforts targeting Mississippi River waters. These include farmer education partnerships with other government agencies and the Louisiana State University AgCenter, as well as a planned Water Quality Trading program allowing producers to generate credits by implementing pollution reduction measures.