Thursday, February 2, 2012

Second dead zone found, Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS — A new study finds that Louisiana's second Gulf of Mexico dead zone stretches at least from the Chandeleur Sound off Louisiana's coast to Alabama's Dauphin Island and could extend across Alabama's coast.

John Lopez, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, said Wednesday that the foundation was able to check only as far as the Mississippi-Alabama state line in 2011, but officials hope to get other states to extend the reach of studies that will start later in February.

In 2010, the foundation checked a 250-square-mile area in the Chandeleur Sound off Louisiana and found that it held too little oxygen to support life. The area found last year was 1.050 square miles off both Louisiana and Mississippi.

"This is four times larger than the region found in 2010, because a much larger area was surveyed," Lopez wrote in a news release. A wider look is likely to find a still bigger area, possibly extending into the area off the Florida Panhandle, he said in an interview. Read More