Note: The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is a hypoxic area where the oxygen level in the water is too low to support life
Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
Hello, I'm farmer Bob and I recently heard about a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you tell me about the causes of the dead zone?
Runoff then carries the pollutants into bigger bodies of water. These bodies will feed even bigger bodies of water. This ends when the pollutants end up in the ocean.
Sure thing Bob. This all starts when fertilizer and excess nutrients from farming operations are collected by runoff.
In the ocean the presence of fertilizers and excess nutrients causes algae blooms. The algae then uses up its available resources. This causes a massive die-off.
The mass amounts of dead algae then causes a increase of decomposers. The increase of decomposers rapidly depletes the oxygen levels. This creates a hypoxic zone where the oxygen level is too low to suport life.
Man, I feel kinda bad about being part of the cause of the dead zone. What can I do to help?
All of these solutions center around managing excesses fertilizer and nutrients.
There are multiple options when it comes to stopping the cause of the dead zones.
One easy solution involves planting and maintaining a permanent vegetative barrier or buffer zone on the exterior of the fields and around any creeks and rivers.
Yes, that is what they do. Buffers increase water quality, soil quality, and provide a habitat for other organisms. This improves the overall ecosystem.
So the buffers absorb the excesses nutrients and fertilizers instead of the marine ecosystems?
Thank you for speaking with me. I now know what I can do to help solve the problem of the dead zone.