It is called "the dead zone," an area as large as 10,000 square miles of Lake Erie's surface. The dead zone is filled with oxygen absorbing algae, fed by fertilizer used mostly for farming near the lake or rivers and streams that feed it. The fertilizer contains phosphorus that accelerates the growth. As the algae sucks the oxygen out of the water, fish and other lake dwellers cannot survive. Some die and add to the toxic stew.