Posted on September 26, 2013 at 8:29 AM by Iowa Corn
A recent evaluation of the 2008 Hypoxia Task Force Action Plan shows positive progress over the past five years by targeting funds where they are most needed, increasing agricultural conservation practices, developing state nutrient reduction strategies, and improving science and monitoring of water quality in the Mississippi River watershed. The report recommends the Task Force work to accelerate implementation of nutrient reduction activities and identify ways to measure progress at a variety of scales, from small streams to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The Hypoxia Task Force, who met on September 24th in Minneapolis, MN and is made up of members from five federal agencies and twelve state agencies, is working to address environmental concerns associated with the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia zone. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey serves as co-chair of the Task Force.
“This report does a good job showing the significant progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done. Iowa continues to be a leader in the adoption of voluntary, science-based practices that address nitrogen and phosphorus loading contributing to the hypoxic zone. Through the newly created Iowa Water Quality Initiative we will have nearly 1100 Iowa farmers putting their own money towards trying new practices this fall aimed at protecting water quality here in Iowa and down-stream to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Northey.
Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy was finalized this past May, and the legislature and Governor approved over $20 million to implement it. The response from Iowa farmers has been tremendous with nearly 1100 farmers signing up for a new cost share program to implement cover crops, reduced tillage, and nitrification inhibitors. As the report indicates, acceleration in adopting nutrient reduction practices is needed. All Iowa farmers are being asked to consider conservation practices that reduce nutrient losses to water.
The report is an evaluation of the Task Force’s progress in implementing its 2008 Action Plan. Results include: