Dead Zone Mapped in Chandeleur Sound

Feb 1, 2012

Scientists have confirmed a “dead zone,’ or low-oxygen water levels, in the Chandeleur Sound. Eileen Fleming reports the area is four times larger than the region found in 2010.

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is reporting the dead zone is more than 1,000 square miles. The foundation, along with volunteers and data from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, reports the zone extends east to the Mississippi/Alabama border. It starts eight miles off shore and extending about 28 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Foundation Executive Director John Lopez says the increase is likely tied to the closer look researchers are providing.

“Their survey complemented the work that we had done so we put the two surveys together and that’s when we saw a much greater extent of it. We had mapped about half of it and they had mapped about half of it. Now the thing that’s also a little alarming is that the eastern boundary of this is essentially the edge of our survey.”  

Lopez says the dead zone is probably not caused by high nutrients carried into the Gulf by the Mississippi River. He says it could be caused by calm seasonal tides in the area. More testing is planned later this month and in June.