The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, otherwise known as the Hypoxia Task Force (HTF), held its 38th annual meeting which highlighted ongoing efforts by HTF members to improve water quality in the Mississippi River Basin funded through the Gulf Hypoxia Program. Comprising five federal agencies, 12 states, and one tribal member, the HTF provides executive level direction and support for coordinating scientific activities and actions on nutrient management within the Mississippi River watershed.
Key updates were shared by state representatives, partner organizations, and federal agencies, including progress toward the 2025 interim goal and the recently published bi-annual Congressional Report. Meeting organizers also coordinated site visits to discuss water quality challenges and successes with local farmers, waste water treatment specialists, and a watershed partnership organization.
NCCOS serves as the NOAA representative to the HTF and reported on NOAA monitoring and forecasting efforts for evaluating progress toward reducing the annual size of the dead zone, research on determining impacts to valuable Gulf of Mexico fishery resources, and the development of Autonomous Surface and Underwater Vehicle capabilities to support hypoxia monitoring. The meeting was held in Fayetteville, Arkansas from December 6th-7th, 2023.