Implementing the HTF 2008 Action Plan
Implementation of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 (2008 Action Plan) continues. Read more in the following sections to learn how.
Hypoxia Task Force Partnership with Land Grant Universities
The Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) and the 12 HTF state Land Grant Universities (LGU) formed a Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement to support state-level strategies and actions to curb nutrient loading and Gulf hypoxia. These Land Grant Universities have organized through the SERA-46 committeeExit. In 2015, the Hypoxia Task Force and SERA-46 released their Priorities for Collaborative Work. The land grant universities involved in this partnership host an electronic newsletter and other information at the following website: Mississippi River Basin Conservation Network Exit. The partnership announcement was released in 2014.
In 2015, the HTF announced that it would retain the original goal of reducing the areal extent of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to less than 5,000 km2 and extend the time of attainment from 2015 to 2035. The HTF also for the first time agreed on an interim target of a 20 percent nutrient load reduction by the year 2025 as a milestone toward reducing the hypoxic zone to less than 5,000 km2 by the year 2035. For more details, read the 2015 Press Release or download the full HTF Goal Framework. To learn more about how the HTF is tracking its progress toward these goals, see Tracking Outcomes and Metrics to Measure Progress.
State Nutrient Reduction Strategies
Action 1 of the 2008 Action Plan, calling for state nutrient reduction strategies, has been completed.
Action 11 of the 2008 Action Plan called for a reassessment in five years. In response to Action Item 11, the HTF developed this 2013 reassessment to provide a snapshot of progress to date in implementing the other 10 action items in the 2008 Action Plan.
From 2009 to 2011, the HTF Annual Reports were designed to track interim progress on the actions taken to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya Basin (MARB). These reports document federal and state program nutrient reduction activities and the results of these activities. This consistent documentation helped the Task Force to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and management efforts and their combined effects on reducing the hypoxic zone and the in-basin effects of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. The first Annual Report was released in 2009.
There are a growing number of organizations, companies, and foundations who are also doing their part to move forward on Gulf hypoxia. The Task Force promotes these efforts and encourages continued partnership building with these stakeholders.
Any environmental issue that covers the immense size and scope of the MARB and hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico is bound to be laden with obstacles. Despite limited resources to address an ever-growing problem, the Task Force and its member federal and state agencies and the tribes have made progress through actions and programs that achieve direct reductions in nutrient pollution throughout the MARB.