Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
USGS Info Guides Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone Action Plan
In January 2001, President Clinton sent to Congress an action plan with the goal of reducing the size of the summertime Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to less that 5,000 square kilometers by 2015. The Action Plan was developed by the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Task Force with representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), other Federal and State agencies, environmental and agricultural groups, and tribal organizations. As part of an intensive scientific assessment, guided by the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), USGS determined the sources and loads of nutrients in streams throughout the Mississippi River Basin. The runoff of nutrients from agricultural land has degraded the quality of water in the Mississippi Basin and has caused hypoxic conditions in the Gulf. This information enables targeting of water-quality incentive and habitat restoration programs to achieve the most significant improvement in local water quality in the Mississippi Basin and hypoxia in the Gulf.