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EPA Region 6 recently awarded the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) $100,000 to reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. With the grant, CPRA will develop a statewide nutrient reduction strategy, adopting strategic elements identified in the GOMA’s Action Plan II and the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force’s action plan.

The CPRA is the single state entity with authority to articulate a clear statement of priorities and to focus development and implementation efforts to achieve comprehensive coastal protection for Louisiana. Gulf of Mexico hypoxia (known as the “Dead Zone”) is definitely a priority for CPRA. The size of the Dead Zone varies, but can cover up to 6,000 to 7,000 square miles. The zone occurs between the inner and mid-continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico, beginning at the Mississippi River delta and extending westward to the upper Texas coast. The Dead Zone is caused by nutrient enrichment from the Mississippi River, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous.

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