Increased Chance of Dead Zones in US Waters

A new report issued by US environmental and scientific federal agencies suggests that there is a growing thread of hypoxia in US waters.

Hypoxia is a condition which sees oxygen levels in the water decrease to a point which stresses or kills the animal and bacterial life living therein.

“The Nation’s coastal waters  are vital to our quality of life, our culture, and the economy. Therefore, it is imperative that we move forward to better understand and prevent hypoxic events, which threaten all our coasts,” wrote Nancy H. Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and John P. Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a letter accompanying the 163-page report, Scientific Assessment of Hypoxia in U.S. Coastal Waters, which was delivered today to Congressional leaders.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, wrote;

The interagency report notes that incidents of hypoxia—a condition in which oxygen levels  drop so low that fish and other animals are stressed or killed—have increased nearly 30-fold since 1960. Incidents of hypoxia were documented in nearly 50 percent of the 647 waterways assessed for the new report, including the Gulf of Mexico, home to one of the largest such zones in the world.

Read more about the research and the report here. But given the increase worldwide of dead zones and oxygen depleted areas one can only hope that some measure of research and policy steps are taken to reverse the trend.

Source: NOAA
Image Source: eutrophication&hypoxia

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