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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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slide1
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

slide2
What Causes Gulf Hypoxia?

“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

slide3
Hypoxic Zone Extent, July 21-25, 2004

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.

slide4
3.0

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

slide5
Nitrogen Cycling

Artificially Drained

Land, MRB

Millions of Acres

INPUTS

Urban Runoff??

  • N Inputs and Outputs
  • (Million metric Tons).
  • Landscape changes.

OUTPUTS

slide6
MR/GM Watershed Nutrients Task Force
  • Federal Agencies (USEPA*, NOAA, USDA, USACE, DOI)
  • States (Agriculture and Environment Departments)
  • Tribal representatives
task force organization
Task Force Organization

CoordinatingCommittee (Implementation)

  • Finance/Budget Workgroup
  • Monitoring, Modeling and Research Workgroup
  • Management Response Workgroup
    • Point Sources
    • Non Point Sources
    • Restoration
slide8
CENR Science Assessment

Integrated

Assessment,

May 2000

a science based action plan
A Science-based Action Plan
  • Adaptive management.
  • Consider all causal and mitigating factors.
  • Voluntary Basis.

Task Force Action Plan,

January 2001

slide10
22

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.
slide11
Reducing

Nutrient

Loads

Reducing Point Sources and Urban Runoff

Filter Strips

Riparian Forest Buffers

Decreasing

N losses

Farm N Management

slide12
Davis Pond Diversion Structure

Reducing

Nutrient

Loads

Increasing

Denitification

Diversions to Coastal Wetlands

Restoring Wetlands

Lock & Dam Management

slide13
Nitrogen

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%

slide14
Nitrogen Yield,

1980-96

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

slide15
N Input From Wet Deposition

N Input From Fertilizer

N Input From Point Sources

Component

Nitrogen Inputs

slide16
YIELD

Inference

Nitrogen Yield,

1980-96

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

slide17
B

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

mmr strategy
MMR 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

slide20
Chapters/Topical Groups (leads)
  • 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
slide21
Management

Questions

THE WATERSHED

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

basin monitoring framework
BASIN MONITORING FRAMEWORK

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

  • MRB MOUTH
  • Large Sub basins
  • Small Sub basins
  • Smaller watersheds
slide23
BASIN MONITORING: Level 1
  • MRB MOUTH
    • High Frequency data.
    • Nutrients, carbon and other related data.
    • Explain cause-effect linkages to Hypoxic zone.
slide24
USGS Gaging Station

BASIN MONITORING: Level 2

  • Large Sub basins
    • Estimate annual loads.
    • Monitor Sub-basin management strategies.
    • Explain variations in loads at the mouth.
slide25
BASIN MONITORING: Level 3
  • 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.
slide26
BASIN MONITORING: Level 4
  • 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.
slide27
Priorities for Basin Monitoring and Reporting
  • 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…
slide28
Next Step: Action 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.

slide29
Info On the Internet

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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