Nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin negatively impacts drinking water for over 20 million people and is fueling the annual Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic ‘Dead Zone’. Record flooding in 2019 has exacerbated the problem and this year’s Gulf Hypoxic Zone is forecasted to be one of the largest on record at around 7,829 square miles (equivalent in size to the total landmass of Massachusetts!).
This problem has knowingly been going on for decades and improvement goals aren’t being met. Fortunately, solutions in agricultural conservation and management, ecosystem restoration, and improved infrastructure exist but are NOT receiving necessary funding from Congress for implementation on the scale that is required for clean water and a healthy Mississippi River.