The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, otherwise known as the Hypoxia Task Force (HTF), held a virtual fall meeting from December 13- 14, 2021. The Task Force provides executive level direction and support for coordinating scientific activities and actions on nutrient management within the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed. NOAA research has demonstrated that large reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus will be necessary for reducing the size of the summer hypoxic (low oxygen) zone located off the coast of Louisiana and Texas.
Dr. Steven Thur, Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and the NOAA representative to the HTF, reported on ongoing NOAA efforts addressing task force needs. These include forecasting, monitoring, marine resource impacts studies, development of Autonomous Surface Vehicle capabilities to support hypoxia monitoring, and an interactive, educational tool that helps individuals understand the connection between land use and water quality.
Long-term research supported by NCCOS has been used by the Task Force as the foundation for interagency management decisions, including the development of Action Plans in 2001 and 2008 and the reassessment in 2013.