The Cedar Rapids Gazette, in an investigation by Erin Jordan, found that Mississippi River basin states have failed to reach goals to reduce the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Jordan found that there is little pressure on the states from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet an interim goad of reducing nitrate and phosphorus pollution by 20 percent by 2025. Of a dozen states told to come up with strategies, only four did. In many cases — especially when improved drainage is considered — nitrate levels are rising. The dead zone, an area of low oxygen that is largely lifeless in summer, has been growing. The pollutants are tied to the low oxygen.