Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fixing Dead Zones

Solutions to help the environment don’t come without cost and effort. The best solution is prevention but when the U.S. has a dead zone the size of Rode Island. It is no longer possible to just provide reduction and prevention. In order to fix the problem we will have to look at the main cause. This cause is the excessive distribution of nitrogen run off, off of the Ohio River valley and the Mississippi basin north of St. Louis. This run off then creates a hypoxic, or oxygen-depleted, state known as a dead zone which is slowly growing which each passing year if nothing is done. Making it difficult for shrimp and fish to live.

Some of the solutions that would help to reduce the dead zone would be erosion protection; Or the prevention of farm land and sole washing into the river basins. By installing buffers near streams to prevent runoff, or restoring wetlands along the river. We can help slowly reducing the effect of the dead zone on the regain. There is only one problem with this solution it cost money a lot of it, and the only way to get finding is to bring awareness of the need for such funding. The estimated cost just to reduce the nitrogen 20 percent is somewhere in the means of $20 billion to 30 billion dollars. With our current economical state it is vary difficult to come up with that thru federal funding or otherwise. 

What needs to be done is for everyone to pitch in and do a little and as we do a little, then that little slowly turns into a lot. But to get there we have to be aware of the problem. This blog is meant to help us gain that awareness. So please post your comment or thoughts below and tell us how you feel.

Teaching Children About Dead Zones

Children are curious about the world round them, eager to help, and often more open minded than their adult counterparts.  For these reasons it is very important to teach children about environmental problems such as dead zones.  Dead zones are a complex issue that deal with watershed, decomposition, water density, and of course death of marine life, this subject is probably best suited for children 5th grade or higher who have some previous knowledge of those area.  If the term “dead zone” seems too intense they can also be referred to as “hypoxic” or “low oxygen” areas.   
                Children learn best when they are encouraged to participate in discussions, ask questions, and engage in hands on activities. 
Here is a simple experiment, which can be done at home or in a classroom, to demonstrate water density.

This can also be done with two cups of fresh water (one hot and one cold).  The hot water will float on top of the cold.  Videos of these experiments, along with lot of great interactive information, can be found on the Science Museum of Minnesota website.  

After teaching children about dead zones have them fill out and color the sheet below.  Ask them to draw the animals they would find in each section of the water.  This is a fun way for them to demonstrate what they have just learned. 

How dead zones affect our economy

The more we have of something the lower the price. The less we have of something the more the price. This is the basics of economics and the effects on our society. Think of what would happen if In the U.S. we no longer any shrimp on the market. This would cause a huge increase in the price because there harder to find. Well this is happening know and in our time with our watch on this blue marble we live in.  Brown shrimp are dying off in groves and generations of brown shrimp can no longer reproduce. Why? The answer is Dead Zones. 
As you can see in the chart below that over time dead zones effect murrain life and as a result affect us humans. We need to be more aware of our environments and how our contributions affect the climate. The shrimp population is diminishing do to the gulfs of Mexico dead zones. Juvenile brown shrimp are having a difficult time traversing the dead zone from their offshore spawning grounds.  This in turn creates a mass population decrees. The chart below expresses the catch ratio of the fishermen within the regain.  Lower shrimp catch result in higher pay per pound of shrimp affecting the bottom dollar we spend to eat the delectable catch. 

 If we help reduce the creation of dead zones it doesn’t just help the environment but it helps our ability to have and obtain seafood at a more reasonable price without having to deal with inflation due to limitations of quantity.