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Source: Iowa Dept. of Agriculture & Land Stewardship news release

Des Moines, IA - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who serves as the co-chair of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force (HTF), and representatives from 11 other member states, submitted a letter to the new leadership teams at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Office of Water and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Farm Production and Conservation Business Center. In the letter, the states' representatives asked the new leadership teams, nominated by President Biden, for their partnership and support to continue the work of the HTF.

"There is a tremendous amount of conservation work happening across the Mississippi River basin. The Hypoxia Task Force gives state and federal partners the opportunity to collaborate and discuss successes and challenges, and share research and best practices," said Secretary Naig. "It's critical that we continue state-led, federally-supported efforts that enable each state to implement nutrient-reducing practices that are tailored to their individual needs and landscapes. Working together, we can improve our local waters and the Gulf of Mexico."

The HTF is a partnership of 12 states and five federal agencies that works collaboratively supporting efforts to reduce nutrient-loading throughout the Mississippi River Basin and the size of the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The HTF action plan has a near-term target of reducing nutrient-loading to the Gulf from the basin by 20 percent by 2025, and a long-term goal of limiting the Gulf hypoxic zone to an average annual size of less than 5,000-square kilometers by 2035, subject to the availability of resources.

In the letter, the state representatives write, "resources focused specifically at nutrient reduction actions continue to be the limiting factor in reaching the goals established in the action plan. Additionally, many of the practices proven to reduce nonpoint source nutrient losses have many ancillary national benefits, such as habitat for wildlife and pollinator species and greenhouse gas reductions. We respectfully request that the Administration continue the collaborative efforts and partnership of the Hypoxia Task Force and increase federal support for the action plan and ongoing implementation of the states' nutrient reduction strategies."

Read the full letters to the EPA and USDA.

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