Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia and Mississippi River Basin Nutrient Losses
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Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia and Mississippi River Basin Nutrient Losses. Herb Buxton, USGS. Rob Magnien, NOAA. Co-Chairs, Monitoring, Modeling, and Research Workgroup, Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force. What Causes Gulf Hypoxia?.

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Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia and Mississippi River Basin Nutrient Losses

Herb Buxton, USGS

Rob Magnien, NOAA

Co-Chairs,

Monitoring, Modeling, and Research Workgroup, Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force


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What Causes Gulf Hypoxia? Losses

“Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico is caused primarily by excess N delivered by the MARB in combination with stratification of Gulf Waters.”– Integrated Assessment, 2000


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Hypoxic Zone Extent, July 21-25, 2004 Losses

30

22

o

29

Area of Hypoxic Zone

(km2 x1000)

20

Rabalais, LUMCON

18

16

94

93

92

91

90

89

o

14

12

10

o

o

o

o

o

o

8

6

4

2

85

87

89

91

93

95

97

99

01

03

Gulf

Hypoxia

  • Hypoxic Zone

  • Measured since 1985

  • Largest extent, 2002

NOAA, Rabalais et al.


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3.0 Losses

Conc. (mg/l)

2.0

1.0

0.0

NITRATE LOAD, ANNUAL STREAMFLOW AND N CONCENTRATION

1955-70 Avg. = 350,000 t/yr 1980-99 Avg. = 950,000 t/y


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Nitrogen Cycling Losses

Artificially Drained

Land, MRB

Millions of Acres

INPUTS

Urban Runoff??

  • N Inputs and Outputs

  • (Million metric Tons).

  • Landscape changes.

OUTPUTS


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MR/GM Watershed Nutrients Task Force Losses

  • Federal Agencies (USEPA*, NOAA, USDA, USACE, DOI)

  • States (Agriculture and Environment Departments)

  • Tribal representatives


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Task Force Organization Losses

CoordinatingCommittee (Implementation)

  • Finance/Budget Workgroup

  • Monitoring, Modeling and Research Workgroup

  • Management Response Workgroup

    • Point Sources

    • Non Point Sources

    • Restoration


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CENR Science Assessment Losses

Integrated

Assessment,

May 2000


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A Science-based Action Plan Losses

  • Adaptive management.

  • Consider all causal and mitigating factors.

  • Voluntary Basis.

Task Force Action Plan,

January 2001


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22 Losses

Area of Hypoxic Zone

(km2 x1000)

20

18

16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

85

87

89

91

93

95

97

99

01

03

Action Plan Goals

5,000 km2

  • Coastal Goal: By 2015, reduce the 5-yr average zone to < 5,000 Km2.

  • Within Basin Goal: To restore and protect the waters of the 31 States and 77 Tribes in the Basin.

  • Quality of Life Goal: Improve the communities and economic conditions across the Mississippi Basin.


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Reducing Losses

Nutrient

Loads

Reducing Point Sources and Urban Runoff

Filter Strips

Riparian Forest Buffers

Decreasing

N losses

Farm N Management


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Davis Pond Diversion Structure Losses

Reducing

Nutrient

Loads

Increasing

Denitification

Diversions to Coastal Wetlands

Restoring Wetlands

Lock & Dam Management


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Nitrogen Losses

Loads,

1980-96

1.6M metric tons per year

Arkansas/Red

7%

Lower

Mississippi

7%

Ohio

32%

USGS Gaging Station

Middle

Mississippi

28%

1500 Water-Quality Measurements

on 9 large sub-basins.

Missouri

15%

Upper

Mississippi

10%


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Nitrogen Yield, Losses

1980-96

Yield on 42 small Sub-basins calculated from >4000 additional water-quality measurements.


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N Input From Wet Deposition Losses

N Input From Fertilizer

N Input From Point Sources

Component

Nitrogen Inputs


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YIELD Losses

Inference

Nitrogen Yield,

1980-96

Statistical extrapolation from representative basins (from 42 measured Sub-basins to 133 Sub-basins of entire Mississippi Basin).


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B Losses

C

Increasing yield

Model Estimation of Total Nitrogen Delivered to the Gulf of Mexico(SPARROW)

A - Municipal and Industrial Discharges

B - Atmospheric Deposition , and

C - Fertilizer and Livestock Wastes.

A

6% +/- 3

18% +/- 10

64% +/-21


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Fraction of In-Stream Nitrogen Delivered to Gulf Losses

Alexander et al. Nature, 2000


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MMR Losses Strategy

A Science Strategy to Support Management Decisions Related to Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and Excess Nutrients in the Mississippi River Basin

Available on the Internet:

toxics.usgs.gov/hypoxia/task_force_workgroup.html


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Chapters/Topical Groups (leads) Losses

  • Gulf

  • Monitoring and Reporting (Rex Herron, NOAA)

  • Modeling and Research (Kenric Osgood, NOAA)

  • Social and Economic Issues (Rita Curtis, NOAA)

  • Watershed

  • Monitoring and Reporting (Joe Engeln, MO DNR)

  • Modeling and Research (Rich Alexander, USGS)

  • Social and Economic Issues (Marc Ribaudo, USDA)

  • Coordination and Information Needs

  • Resource Needs


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Management Losses

Questions

THE WATERSHED

What are the major sources and causes of excess nutrients within the Mississippi River Basin?


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BASIN MONITORING FRAMEWORK Losses

Nested scales to address and integrate processes from landscape to Basin-Gulf interrelationships.

  • MRB MOUTH

  • Large Sub basins

  • Small Sub basins

  • Smaller watersheds


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BASIN MONITORING: Level 1 Losses

  • MRB MOUTH

    • High Frequency data.

    • Nutrients, carbon and other related data.

    • Explain cause-effect linkages to Hypoxic zone.


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USGS Gaging Station Losses

BASIN MONITORING: Level 2

  • Large Sub basins

    • Estimate annual loads.

    • Monitor Sub-basin management strategies.

    • Explain variations in loads at the mouth.


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BASIN MONITORING: Level 3 Losses

  • Small Sub basins

    • Annual loads.

    • Explain load variations due to climate, sources.

    • Representative sites useful for model extrapolations.

    • Response of cumulative management actions.

    • Explain time lags.


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BASIN MONITORING: Level 4 Losses

  • Smaller watersheds

  • Quantify specific source contributions and evaluate specific management actions.

  • Useful for model extrapolations.

  • Explain time lags in response to management actions.

  • Explain processes affecting larger basins.


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Priorities for Basin Monitoring and Reporting Losses

  • Adopt a four-level watershed monitoring system…

  • Supplement existing monitoring efforts …on smaller rivers and streams…

  • Coordinate monitoring and reporting through leadership at the federal level…

  • Link watershed monitoring to management actions…


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Next Step: LossesAction Plan: short-term action 11

By December 2005, and every 5 years thereafter, the Task Force will assess the nutrient load reductions achieved and the response of the hypoxic zone, water quality throughout the Basin, and economic and social effects. Based on this assessment, the TF will determine appropriate actions to continue to implement this strategy or, if necessary, revise the strategy.


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Info On the Internet Losses

USGS Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico: http://toxics.usgs.gov/hypoxia/

USEPA Hypoxia Task Force:

http://www.epa.gov/msbasin/hyp2.htm

NOAA Science Assessment:

http://www.nos.noaa.gov/products/pubs_hypox.html


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