Dead Zone to be Largest Ever - Iowa Farm Runoff Contributes

(Here's more background on the link between corn-based ethanol and the Dead Zone. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Scientists are predicting this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone will be the largest ever.

In January of 2008, USGS identified commercial fertilizers and animal manure from farmland in 9 states as the cause of over 70 percent of the Dead Zone pollution. Evidence is mounting that the mandated push to increase corn production – one of the most fertilizer intensive crops – for ethanol exacerbates water quality problems within the states and in the Gulf.

The 9 states contributing over 70 percent of the dead zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants are: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi.

In April of 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey identified 42 Iowa watersheds as among the top 150 watersheds contributing too much nitrogen and/or phosphorus to the Gulf of Mexico and the resulting Dead Zone.

More details at this science blog by Eric Berger with good link to an explanation of the Dead Zone.

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