Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who serves as the states’ Co-chair of the Mississippi River / Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, addressed the annual meeting today in Fayetteville, AR. The task force brings together federal agencies and tribes along with the 12 member states to coordinate, collaborate and communicate efforts to mitigate the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Each state is taking on the challenge of reducing nutrient loss and implementing their own tailored nutrient reduction strategies and we are committed to showing continuous progress,” said Secretary Naig, who serves as the states’ co-chair of the Hypoxia Task Force. “It’s only through the states and federal agencies continuing to work together and leveraging our resources that we can further accelerate these meaningful water quality efforts. While we are proud of our progress, we all know that there is much more work to do in the years and decades ahead.”

Secretary Naig focused his remarks on five main areas:

States are Acting and Implementing

States are acting and implementing their individual nutrient reduction strategies. With the help of both public and private partners in urban and rural areas, we are accelerating this vital work.

Collaboration and Coordination

By bringing together the states, tribes and federal family of agencies, the Hypoxia Task Force creates opportunities to coordinate, communicate and collaborate as we address barriers to progress and consider resource and research needs.

Protecting the Mississippi as a Working River

It is essential that we maintain the ability to use the Mississippi as an inland waterway. It supports the economies of many of the families and communities in our states.

Progress Made but Not Satisfied

Though we are making progress – we are far from satisfied. We know there is more work to do. These implementation steps will only continue to positively impact our water quality at home and downstream for years to come.

Challenges to Acceleration

States face inefficiencies and bottlenecks that slow down or hamper our progress. States face permitting, process, and approval challenges that either needlessly slow us down or prevent us from acting entirely. We need our federal partners to work with us on finding common sense solutions.

Secretary Naig’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.