Forty percent of the continental US drains into the Gulf of Mexico

Forty percent of the continental US — the entire landmass between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains, covering 31 states—drains into these waters. Thirty-three major rivers drain into the Gulf, the largest of which is the Mississippi. That means the Gulf has to handle the agricultural runoff from the Mississippi basin, which has led to an increase in nitrogen-rich chemical fertilizers and pesticides and phosphorus-based detergents into the aquatic ecosystem

Forty percent of the continental US drains into the Gulf of Mexico

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