Dead Fish Have No Politics

I’m following quite a few interesting threads right now, one of them being the fate of excess nitrogen that flows from farm fields, to streams, to oceans to dead zones. The latter is a phenomenon that is producing increased alarm among those who have been monitoring ocean oxygen levels. Here’s why. (very short before-after video from a deep-sea camera.)

Cape Perpetua where this video came from is off the coast of Oregon. Similar images coming from oceans around the world. The nitrogen story is one of horribly too much of a good thing.

In October 2009…the Pacific Deadzone off Oregon is likely irreversible.

the dead zone off the Northwest is one of the few in the world that could be impossible to reverse. That is because evolving wind conditions likely brought on by a changing climate, rather than pollution, are responsible, said Jack Barth, professor of physical oceanography at OSU…The gradual warming of surface waters across the north Pacific, the report funded by the National Science Foundation said, has tended to isolate deep waters far below the surface – allowing less oxygen penetration.There also has been a change in wind patterns, encouraging the upwelling of that low-oxygen water and inhibiting the natural flushing action of water.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. According to what I have read these dead zones are expanding. I wonder if they are found in the same region of the Pacific where there is a floating island of garbage, brought together by ocean currents, that is the size of a large state (I’ve heard 1/2 the size of Texan but have not been able to confirm that). We humans sure cause havoc!