From Farmer to Shrimper: The Dead Zone
(pg 6 of 8)
Solving the dead zone puzzle might be easier if
the pain was felt closer to the source of the
problem. Unfortunately, cause and effect are
separated by more than 1,000 miles. The concerns of
Louisiana shrimpers don't have much political sway
in the farming towns of southern Minnesota.
Nonetheless, in 2001 the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency presented Congress an "action
plan" for resuscitating the gulf by 2015. The
proposed $15 billion plan calls for cutting the
average size of the dead zone in half and reducing
the amount of nutrients, especially nitrogen,
entering the Gulf via the Mississippi by 30
Among the ways the EPA hopes to accomplish these
- Encourage the reduction of
nonpoint-source pollution under existing federal
- Provide incentives to grain and
livestock producers to reduce nitrogen
- Restore and protect natural
cover under programs such as the Conservation
Reserve Program and the Grassland Reserve Program
to retard runoff.
- Step up monitoring and
assessment of public waters and adopt new water
quality standards under the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System.
- Encourage the restoration of
natural buffer strips along streams.