Protecting the Gulf of Mexico - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Protecting the Gulf of Mexico

Protecting the Gulf of Mexico

 There are many issues facing not only fishermen in Mississippi but all residents who live along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

A close look at specific areas and issues within the Gulf ecosystem reveals that many of the effects of human action are threatening the health and well-being of the Gulf. Following heavy rainfall in a particular area, nearby oyster beds are closed to harvesting because of inadequate or inappropriate sewage treatment. There is a large area of oxygen-depleted water off the mouth of the Mississippi River. This hypoxic zone cannot support normal marine life and is caused by human activities throughout the Mississippi River's drainage basin, which encompasses forty percent of the continental United States. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The continuing loss of Louisiana's vegetated coastal wetlands certainly rises to the level of crisis. This loss places at increasing risk the unique cultural heritage of coastal residents, whose lifestyle is closely attuned to the environment. Also at risk are billions of dollars in infrastructure, homes, schools, roads, towns, cities, ports, businesses, industries, and support and storage facilities. Moreover, coastal marshes are essential to various lifestages of over ninety percent of commercially and recreationally important marine species. Marsh loss threatens the very productive Gulf fisheries and the livelihoods of many.

 The Gulf Of Mexico program was formed in 1988 to resolve these problems. Since that time The Gulf of Mexico program with it’s private and public partners have worked together on issues that include: living marine resources, public health, habitat loss, freshwater inflow, shoreline erosion, nutrient enrichment, marine debris, and toxic substances. The Program was bolstered by two support committees: one addressing public education and outreach, and the other data and information transfer among agencies.

Most recently, the Gulf of Mexico program along with it’s partners have developed the concept of, “ ONE GULF, ONE COMMUNITY,” an idea that capitalizes on the idea that the Gulf is one resource shared by all. The course of action calls upon all the creative energies of government, academia, business, environmental groups and private citizens that will shape the future of the Gulf of Mexico to meet the environmental and economic needs of both the region and the nation.

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