Implementing the Task Force's 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan
Planning a Course for Progress
2008 Action Plan
The 2008 Action Plan describes a national strategy to reduce, mitigate, and control hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and improve water quality in the Mississippi River Basin. Eleven key actions in the 2008 Action Plan outline critical needs to complete and implement nitrogen and phosphorus reduction strategies, promote effective conservation and management practices, track progress, reduce existing scientific uncertainties, and promote effective communications to increase awareness of Gulf hypoxia.
Action 11 of the 2008 Action Plan calls for a reassessment, every five years, of the Task Force approach to addressing excess nitrogen and phosphorus loads in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin, and to reduce the size of the Gulf hypoxic zone. The 2013 Reassessment is the Task Force’s response to the Action 11 commitment. The reassessment provides a snapshot of progress to date in implementing the 2008 Action Plan:
- Each Task Force state has developed a nutrient reduction strategy
- USDA continues to provide strong assistance for conservation practices
- Science and monitoring continue to improve
- The goal for reducing the Gulf hypoxic zone remains reasonable
The Reassessment recommended that the Task Force work to accelerate implementation of nutrient reduction activities and identify ways to measure progress at a variety of scales.
In 2015, the Task Force reconfirmed the goal of reducing the areal extent of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to less than 5,000 km2 and set the timeframe for action through 2035. The Task Force also 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. To learn more about how the Task Force is tracking its progress toward these goals, see Tracking Outcomes and Metrics to Measure Progress.
State Nutrient Reduction Strategies
The first action of the 2008 Action Plan, calling for the development of state nutrient reduction strategies, has been completed. States are currently working to implement and adapt their strategies to further reduce nutrient losses to surface waters.
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. Learn more about these Success Stories.
Task Force Partnership with Land Grant Universities
The Task Force and the 12 member 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. The LGUs have organized through the SERA-46, a formal USDA and LGU committee designed to promote multi-state research and extension activities.