Scientists say the size of this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is bigger than average. It’s grown to more than 65-hundred square miles in size. The GLRC’s Mark Brush explains:
Scientists say the size of this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is bigger than
average. It’s grown to more than 6,500 square miles in size. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Mark Brush explains:
Each spring, scientists measure the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution coming
down the Mississippi river. The excess nutrients mostly come from farm fields and
sewage treatment plants in the Mississippi river basin. The nutrients cause algae blooms
in the Gulf of Mexico which eventually rob the water of its oxygen.
Dave Whittall is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He says
the dead zone has a big impact on the region’s ecology and economy:
“That whole area where we don’t have oxygen, nothing can live there, so this is an area
the size of the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island put together where you have no
aquatic life essentially.”
Government officials are working toward a goal of cutting the size of the dead zone by
half in the next nine years. And they’re looking to farmers and cities to help them with
Lake Michigan had a record number of beach closings this year. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl has more:
Lake Michigan had a record number of beach closings last year. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
The Lake Michigan Federation is reporting almost six hundred beach closings on Lake Michigan in 2001. That’s up from just over four hundred last year. Federation director Cameron Davis says most of the closings are due to wastewater carrying bacteria to the lakes when treatment plants are at capacity. He says the solution is to cut back on development near the lakes:
“We need to try to limit the amount of pavement that’s being laid down all across the region, so that rainwater naturally filters through the ground rather than getting shuttled off into a sewage treatment plant.”
Davis says the number of beach closings on Lake Michigan should actually be higher than his report shows. He says Michigan does a poor job testing for bacteria near beaches, and says Wisconsin’s numbers are excluding Sheboygan County where there have been problems in the past. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.
Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. As the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports, beach closings can translate into significant economic loss:
Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
A report from the Lake Michigan Federation shows an all-time high of 600 beach closings in 2001. High levels of bacteria found in the water caused most of the closings. Federation director Cameron Davis says in addition to the environmental problems, the closings have an economic impact on the region:
“Take a look at a place like Chicago that gets 60 million visitors a year to the lakefront. And you get a beach closing Labor Day weekend or a fourth of July weekend. You’re looking at millions of people, some from around the world, that can’t visit the beaches here.”
Davis says the bacteria is getting into the water when heavy rains force wastewater and sewage carrying human and animal waste past treatment plants and into the lake. The Lake Michigan Federation is setting up a center to help citizens and community groups solve bacteria problems at beaches. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.