DeadZone

The old saying is that it is an ill wind that blows no one any good, and even Tropical Storm Cindy might be said to have some benefits, or at least a potential positive for Louisiana.

The annual forecast of a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, the area where chemicals and other runoff can aphyxiate sea life, is not a positive for the region. Researchers R. Eugene Turner of LSU and Nancy Rabalais of the LUMCON research center in Cocodrie projected a dead zone of more than 10,000 square miles, larger than the state of Vermont.

As with all careful researchers, they noted that conditions might change, and perhaps Cindy's winds might stir up the shallow waters to mitigate some of the impact of pollution.

One can hope so, but the answer to the dead zone is more effective control of runoff from farms and factories all along the Mississippi River. "We should be strengthening efforts to reduce dead zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that flows into the Gulf from industrial (sources) and agricultural fields, not rolling back protections," commented Matt Rota of the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental group.

Efforts to rein in the sources of the dead zone pollutants have sputtered along for more than a decade with limited success. Nor can or should we wait on whatever therapeutic impact tropical weather can have. Both conditions in the Gulf have harmful effects.