12 State Members of the Hypoxia Task Force Request Additional Support to Continue Advancing their Nutrient Reduction Strategies
State HTF members sent letters to Congressional committees requesting continued support for their state-level nutrient reduction strategies, part of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan
DES MOINES, Iowa (July 15, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, co-chair of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force (HTF), and representatives from 11 other member states, sent letters to the U.S. Senate and House appropriations and relevant policy committees today. In the letters, the HTF states requested that Congress continue streamlining programs, limiting regulatory burdens and renewing federal appropriations to help local leaders continue advancing their nutrient reduction strategies.
“The HTF states are committed to showing improvement in water quality in our local communities and downstream. At the state level, we have dedicated staff that are working every day alongside local, federal, public and private partners to tackle this complex challenge,” said Secretary Naig. “The states are implementing science-based soil health and water quality practices in targeted watersheds because we know that changes on the landscape lead to changes in the water. Land-based conservation practices capture and treat nutrients very effectively but they require significant engineering, construction and financial resources to build. That’s why we’re asking Congress to advance programs that help maximize state and local investments in soil health and water quality practices.”
In the letters to Congress, the HTF states wrote, “while important strides in conservation practices and point and nonpoint source loading reductions have been achieved, attaining the goals we have collectively set for reducing nutrient-loading through the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan will require acceleration of its implementation through expanded regional collaboration among farmers, municipalities and conservation interests.
“We appreciate the financial and technical support from USEPA, NRCS and NOAA over the past decade to aid in the states’ development of the nutrient reduction strategies. However, resources focused specifically at nutrient-reduction actions continue to be the limiting factor in reaching the goals established in the Action Plan.”
The HTF states also asked the Congressional committees “to ensure that any legislation introduced to address the important needs for improving water quality in the Basin and Gulf also include fiscal support for each state’s nutrient reduction strategies in support of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan.”
Read the full letter sent to the Congressional committees here.
The HTF is a partnership of 12 states and five federal agencies that work collaboratively to support efforts that reduce nutrient-loading throughout the Mississippi River Basin and the size of the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The HTF Action Plan has a near-term target of reducing nutrient-loading to the Gulf from the basin by 20 percent by 2025, and a long-term goal of limiting the Gulf hypoxic zone to an average annual size of less than 5,000-square kilometers by 2035, subject to the availability of resources.
To learn more about the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force and its Action Plan, visit epa.gov/ms-htf.