Scientists predict that the Gulf’s ‘dead zone’ may be as big as Lake Erie this year the Huffington Post reports. Expected to cover as much as 8,500 – 9, 400 square miles—the largest area in recorded history—the dead zone will wreak havoc on marine biology.
Dead zones are created when fertilizer and nutrient run-off ends up in the tributaries emptying into the Gulf and creates an overabundance of algae. The algae literally uses up all the water’s oxygen, making the area uninhabitable for fish, shrimp, and other species.
Gulf dead zones were discovered in the late 1970’s and since then both the Federal and Mississippi-bordering state governments have taken action to reduce run-off. Their efforts, however, have found little success.
Scientists said the large dead zone will complicate the Gulf's ongoing recovery from last year's catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill.