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Hypoxia Task Force asks Congress for additional support

The 12-state Hypoxia Task Force is asking Congress to continue supporting local efforts to reduce the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig co-chairs the task force and says they recently sent letters to relevant committees that provide funding for water quality improvements along the Mississippi River Basin.

“And that’s an important thing to do at the beginning of a new administration, when you’ve got new members of Congress, or new leadership within Congress. We’re here as states actively working, each state in the Basin has a nutrient reduction strategy of their own tailor-made for their state.”

He tells Brownfield the task force is asking for direct dollars to help implement practices and for Congress to remove red tape.

“For instance, if we’re trying to build a nitrate-reducing wetlands in the state of Iowa, are we being hamstrung by permitting issues with the Corps of Engineers? Or are we having to mitigate because of some of the work that we’re doing, and is that driving up the cost of our construction projects?”

Naig says states have “put their shoulder” into reducing the Hypoxia Zone in the Gulf over the past couple of years by implementing science-based nutrient reduction strategies that collectively are starting to pay off.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its summer hypoxia zone size in the Northern Gulf of Mexico last month.  NOAA says at approximately 4,880 square miles, the zone is larger than the long-term average but less than the 2017 record of 8,776 square miles.

The 12 states represented in the Hypoxia Task Force are Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

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