River diversions for help Gulf 'dead zone'
BATON ROUGE - A proposed new strategy for reducing the annual "dead zone" off Louisiana's Gulf coast relies heavily on river water diversions to remove nutrients that deplete oxygen levels to the point they no longer support aquatic life.
The authors of a draft report of the plan say the state's contribution to the dead zone is minimal. Most of the nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, come from states upstream in largely agricultural and metropolitan areas.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said the state's plan goes beyond just contributions to the dead zone through the Mississippi River and looks at all the state's waterways.
Some critics have voiced concerns that the draft strategy is lacking in specific actions and doesn't go much beyond maintaining the status quo.
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