Congressional Briefing on Gulf Hypoxia Task Force Report to Congress

What: Congressional Briefing on the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force 2017 report to Congress.
When: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 10:30 AM
Where: Senate Visitor Center, Room 200

High nutrient loadings from the agricultural landscape and discharged treated sewage entering the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River have created the largest recurring hypoxic zone in the United States, where oxygen becomes too depleted to support most marine life. This “dead zone” is disruptive to ecosystems and causes hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage to fisheries by some estimates. Last summer, the dead zone was a record size: 22,720 square kilometers, or roughly the size of New Jersey. While this dead zone is a problem concentrated in the Gulf, the solutions involve the entire Mississippi River Basin.

In November 2017, the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force released a report describing progress towards attaining the goals of its own Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan of 2008. The Task Force is a collaboration of federal and state agencies, co-chaired by EPA and Iowa. The briefing is an opportunity to educate Congressional staff and other interested stakeholders of the important conclusions in the report which are relevant to several upcoming pieces of legislation. Presenters will include:

  • Katie Flahive, EPA Nonpoint Source Management Branch, federal co-chair of the Hypoxia Task Force Coordinating Committee.
  • Matt Lechtenberg, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Water Quality Initiative Coordinator.
  • Dr. Amanda Gumbert, University of Kentucky Extension Water Quality Specialist.
  • Dr. Beth Baker, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension Professor.

For more information, please contact Joe Vukovich, Senior Policy Analyst for the Mississippi River Basin Program at the Northeast-Midwest Institute.