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Agri-Pulse reports:

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) task force focused on the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed announced a partnership with 12 land grant universities today.

According to EPA's announcement, the agreement is the first for the task force with non-governmental entities.

Known as the Hypoxia Task Force, the partnership includes five federal agencies from 12 basin states, and will focus on nutrient pollution and the hypoxic zone, or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.

The universities involved are: Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University and Louisiana State University.

EPA's announcement said they want to provide educational programs on soil conservation and water quality for farmers, businesses, and conservation professionals.

The new network of universities will bring additional expertise to help reduce nutrient runoff and advise the task force and national policy makers, according to EPA.

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