EPA Is Providing Funds to Reduce Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico

In 2012 the EPA issued a  grant to the  Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for the purpose of combating hypoxia.

A large area in the northern  Gulf of Mexico is called the “dead zone.”  The problem is known technically as hypoxia.
Hypoxia means low oxygen and is primarily a problem in coastal waters. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is an area of hypoxic waters at the mouth of the


Mississippi River. Its area varies in size, but can cover up to 6,000 to 7,000 square miles.  The dead zone is caused by nutrient enrichment from the Mississippi River, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous.

Hypoxic waters have dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than 2-3 ppm. Hypoxia can be caused by a variety of factors, including excess nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, which promote growth of algae. As dead algae decompose, oxygen is consumed in the process, resulting in low levels of oxygen in the water.

Nutrients can come from many sources, including any of the following:

  • Fertilizers from agriculture, golf courses, and suburban lawns
  • Erosion of soil full of nutrients
  • Discharges from sewage treatment plants
  • Deposition of atmospheric nitrogen

More from the EPA’s Website.