The Daily PlanetWatch for Wednesday, August 7

Thomas Schueneman

Thinking about the latest environmental news headlines every weekday afternoon from the Daily PlanetWatch
  • Gulf of Mexico's dead zone expanding. The severe flooding in the U.S. midwest this season has received little attention in the mainstream press. Nonetheless, the punishing rains and attendant floods "are often the most damaging of all natural disasters, affecting a greater number of people than other events," writes Alice Salles in Epoch Times.

    In the American heartland, the destruction extends into the Gulf of Mexico from the floodwaters carrying massive agricultural runoff, choking off oxygen and creating a "dead zone" spanning thousands of square miles off the coast, killing all the fish within its grip. 

    The amount of nutrient loading in the Gulf from fertilizer peaked in the 1980s. Consequently, the size of the dead zone has remained unchanged for decades. But even as the amount of fertilizer entering the Mississippi River Delta hasn't changed much, the percentage of the nutrient load is increasing as wetter springs and more frequent, intense flooding become the new normal. 

    "The rains will arrive in heavy downpours that will cut through fields, washing away tons of fertilizer-dense soil -- far more than over the previous decades," writes Jessie Higgins in UPI.  

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