Gulf of Mexico dead zone fix would cost billions annually

By on January 14, 2015
A graphic of the dead zone (depicted in red) along the Gulf Coast (Credit: NOAA)

Work to fix the Gulf of Mexico dead zone would be quite extensive, according to Grist, demanding steps like adjusting land use and installing bioreactors to filter drainage up and down the Mississippi River watershed. The cost for all that according to one scientific study would be $2.7 billion annually.

A group of national researchers made the tabulation, identifying areas where remediation activities would be the most cost-effective for achieving conservation targets. Their work spanned 550 agricultural subwatersheds that generate nutrient runoff from agricultural practices.

Researchers ultimately concluded that the cost to clear the hypoxic zone from the Gulf would have to be borne by farmers or taxpayers. If there are policy changes enacted, most of the cost will shift to taxpayers. But if farmers make changes to their land use without reimbursement, costs would be passed on through food and fuel prices.

Top image: A graphic of the dead zone (depicted in red) along the Gulf Coast (Credit: NOAA)

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