States along the Mississippi River are facing lakes smothered by toxic algae growth and pollution of well water to the point where it is undrinkable according to an article in the Journal Sentinel.
Ten years after a government task force set to curb nitrogen and phosphorous pollution (mostly from fertilizers) by 45 percent to help both local waterways and the Gulf of Mexico, the river is getting more polluted despite millions being spent to try to curb the pollution. This is fueling the dead zone in the Gulf, because the nutrients lead to increased algae growth. Bacteria feast on the algae, multiply, and consume the oxygen in the water, leaving it uninhabitable for fish. According to the article this dead zone has increased to 5,572 square miles.
The states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Each was required to develop their own plans for reducing nitrogen and phosphorous in the river, but this has not effectively happened.
Homeowners in the Mississippi watershed can lead the way, not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in their yards and gardens, and protecting wetlands with native plants that absorb nutrients, and educating their friends and neighbors about the problem and solutions.