Little Orange Stream

The little stream was bright orange behind my grade school. Even as a first grader in the late 1960s in those days before the first Earth Day and before the Clean Water Act, I knew that it was bad to have an orange stream. The unnatural color came from a steel plant. People in the small northern Ohio town had jobs at the plant and chose not to complain about the orange color and chemical smell. Folks in neighboring communities downstream...

Read More

Electrified Fish Fences and Oil Slicks: One Woman’s Paddling Adventure

Beginning mid-August, Margo Pellegrino will paddle her outrigger canoe from Chicago to New Orleans with the hopes of raising awareness about water quality issues. The journey will take her through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (a human-made “hydrologic connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins”),¹ down the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, to Kentucky Lake, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, and...

Read More

Dead Zone “Fun”?

It’s the season to measure the size of the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Each summer, scientists examine coastal waters off Louisiana to see how large of an area is without sea life because oxygen levels in the ocean are too low. Agricultural runoff and other nitrogen and phosphorous pollution flowing down the Mississippi River and its tributaries feed algal blooms that in turn suck up the oxygen in the water. Every year, size...

Read More

Dead Zone Size of Connecticut Demands Federal Action

  New Orleans, LA— Every year nitrogen and phosphorous pollution gets dumped into the Mississippi River by 31 states and parts of Canada, creating an economically and ecologically disastrous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. New measurements from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-supported scientists report this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico to be 5,840 square miles, more than double the goal set in 2001 by the...

Read More

Nancy Rabalais honored for Dead Zone research

Three things happen every single year: 1. As a result of fertilizer pollution from the Corn Belt, a Dead Zone appears in the Gulf of Mexico. 2. Dr. Nancy Rabalais studies that Dead Zone. 3. The Heinz Family Foundation gives out nine “Heinz Awards” honoring individuals “whose remarkable mix of vision, creativity and passion has produced significant achievements benefiting the environment.” This year, one of those awards...

Read More

Dead Zone Enormous

Every year in the Gulf of Mexico, there appears a bloom of algae followed by a period of time where no life can survive, a Dead Zone. This year, that Dead Zone is bigger than ever, all thanks to agricultural pollution.  Fertilizers and pesticides from the Corn Belt make their way down the Mississippi and end up in the Gulf contributing to the Dead Zone, but due to excessive flooding in the River, this year’s Dead Zone will be bigger than...

Read More

Mississippi River/Dead Zone Article in NY Times

One good thing has come out of the flooding of the Mississippi River this year: increased coverage of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, as coverage increases, so does the size of the Dead Zone, an area where, because of pollution, nothing can live. For a greater explanation on what the Dead Zone is and what to expect from both the environment and the government, read the New York Times...

Read More