The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing an additional $840,000 to the 12 state members of the Hypoxia Task Force, expanding the $1.2 million that the agency announced in August 2019. EPA’s more than $2 million in funding is helping Hypoxia Task Force states implement plans that accelerate progress on reducing excess nutrients and improving water quality in the Mississippi River/Atchafalaya River Basin.
“By providing this new round of funding, EPA is further empowering our state partners to build on their ongoing efforts to update nutrient management plans, develop water quality trading programs and demonstrate best practices in high-priority watersheds,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross.
Excess nutrients that make their way into our nation’s surface waters can contribute to algae blooms, hypoxic zones and other water quality concerns. Hypoxia Task Force, or HTF, provides direction and support for federal and state initiatives to improve water quality in local waterways and in the Gulf of Mexico. The funding announcement supports state strategies, which the HTF has recognized as a cornerstone for reducing nutrient loads to the Gulf and throughout the basin.
“As the co-chair of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, I’m fortunate to work alongside 12 other state leaders, the EPA and other federal agencies, to guide the implementation of water quality and soil health practices that will help reduce the size, severity and duration of the hypoxia zone in the Gulf,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “As states continue implementing their nutrient reduction plans, they need additional funding to build upon the successful water quality projects underway. I am very grateful that the EPA is doubling-down on its water quality investment in the HTF states. In Iowa, we are adding practices at the fastest pace in our state’s history. We’re continuously looking for ways to scale up outreach, design, engineering and construction to put even more projects on the ground and find new ways to measure our success.”
In 2020, EPA’s actions have included co-hosting a public meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force in Washington, D.C.; awarding more than $1.8 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to five organizations that will use market-based approaches to enhance nonpoint source excess nutrient reduction efforts in the Great Lakes basin; and issuing new, draft ambient water quality criteria recommendations for nutrients in lakes and reservoirs—the first update in almost 20 years.
For more information on EPA’s efforts to support the Hypoxia Task Force, visit https://www.epa.gov/ms-htf.