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Mississippi Flooding Predicted to Expand Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have issued a press release predicting that the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone will be the largest ever recorded, due to extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring.  The actual size of the 2011 hypoxic zone will be released following a NOAA-supported monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium this summer.

Collecting these data is an annual requirement of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Action Plan.  NOAA has been funding investigations and forecast development for the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico since 1990 and currently oversees the two national hypoxia programs authorized by the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act.  This year’s forecast is just one example of NOAA’s growing ecological forecasting capabilities, supported by both NOAA and USGS science, which allow for the protection of valuable resources using scientific, ecosystem-based approaches.

For more information about these efforts, visit the NOAA web site at:   http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110614_deadzone.html.