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6 Overcoming Perceived Obstacles to Action
Pages 57-62

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From page 57...
... Those recommendations aim to create a more systematic framework for nutrient control actions, improve and better coordinate the knowledge base of conservation intelligence, and to eventually realize local and downstream water quality improvements. Action and progress on reducing nutrient loads to the Mississippi River basin and reducing northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxia have been stalled for years.
From page 58...
... Further, the NCII initiative and a new Mississippi River Basin Water Quality Center will enhance scientific knowledge and will help improve the accuracy of the values of estimated nutrient loading reductions necessary to reduce the area of the hypoxia zone. Regardless of whether an initial loading reduction goal is 20, 30, or 45 percent, substantial reductions in nutrient loadings will be necessary, at least initially.
From page 59...
... A comprehensive plan involves scientific, water quality, social, political, and economic considerations that will take years to understand better, and hence any comprehensive plan will remain a work in progress for at least several decades. This report's recommendations for the NCII program and the new Mississippi River Basin Water Quality Center would constitute a significant, important step toward establishing a more comprehensive and systematic program and plan.
From page 60...
... There is authority to direct resources, target programs, develop plans, develop standards, and engage in cooperative efforts for ecological improvements, including water quality. Objection: there is no federal regulatory authority within the Clean Water Act to address nonpoint source pollutants, water quality standards and water quality criteria do not exist, and no TMDL does or can exist that will require reductions in nutrient loadings across the Mississippi River and in its tributary rivers and streams.
From page 61...
... Third, as noted above, there is no question that nutrient loadings in the Mississippi River basin are causing water quality problems and gulf hypoxia. Therefore, even though the development of numeric water quality standards and a TMDL will take years, more precise standards are not needed to begin making improvements.
From page 62...
... The creation of a Mississippi River Basin Water Quality Center would offer the agencies the opportunity to demonstrate leadership on these issues and to productively engage state governments, the private sector, NGOs, and citizens in the collective NCII effort to better manage nutrient loadings in the river basin and improve local and national water quality.

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