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EPA Science Advisory Board Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Basin Hypoxia Advisory Panel Tom Simpson Update to NSC March 28, 2007 Current Status and.

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Presentation on theme: "EPA Science Advisory Board Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Basin Hypoxia Advisory Panel Tom Simpson Update to NSC March 28, 2007 Current Status and."— Presentation transcript:

1 EPA Science Advisory Board Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Basin Hypoxia Advisory Panel Tom Simpson Update to NSC March 28, 2007 Current Status and Preliminary Recommendations: Public but Not Final or Endorsed by HAP, SAB or EPA

2 EPA Science Advisory Board Executive Board and topical sub-boards advise EPA and recommend special panels to conduct rapid but comprehensive assessments of selected scientific issues and make recommendations FACA activity so all public and formal HAP established to make recommendations to EPA and MRB Task Force 23 members from US, Canada and Denmark Chair is member of Executive Board Managed by Designated Federal Official

3 Charge to the Panel The SAB-HAP is asked to focus on the strengths and limitations of the science in managing the Gulf hypoxia problem, including available data, models and model results and uncertainty (building on theIntegrated Assessment completed in 2001). EPA, in conjunction with its federal, state, and tribal partners will consider the SABs advice and recommendations as future revisions to the Action Plan are developed.

4 1. Characterization of Hypoxia A. Address the state-of-the-science and the importance of various processes in the formation of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, including: i. increased volume or funneling of fresh water discharges from the MR ii. changes in hydrologic or geomorphic processes in the Gulf and MRB; iii. increased nutrient loads due to coastal wetlands losses, upwelling or increased loadings from the MRB iv. increased stratification, and seasonal changes in magnitude and spatial distribution of stratification and nutrient concentrations in the Gulf; v. temporal and spatial changes in nutrient limitation or co-limitation, for N or P, as significant factors in the development of the hypoxic zone; vi. the implications of reduction of N or P w/o reduction of the other. B. Comment on the state of the science for characterizing the onset, volume, extent and duration of the hypoxic zone.

5 2. Characterization of Nutrient Fate, Transport and Sources: A.Given available literature, information, data and models on loads, fate, transport and effects of nutrients, evaluate the importance of various processes in nutrient delivery and effects, including: i. the pertinent annual and seasonal characteristics of nutrient loads/fluxes throughout the MRB and to the Gulf; ii. the ability to determine an accurate mass balance of the nutrient loads throughout the basin; iii. nutrient transport processes (fate/transport, sources/sinks, transformations, etc.) through the basin, delta, & into the Gulf. B. Given the available literature and information on nutrient sources and delivery within and from the basin, evaluate capabilities to: i. predict nutrient delivery to the Gulf, using currently available scientific tools and models; ii. route nutrients from their various sources and account for the transport processes throughout the basin and deltaic zone, using currently available scientific tools and models.

6 3. Scientific Basis for Goals and Management Options. A.Is the goal of reducing the hypoxic zone to 5,000 km 2 by 2015 (with a N load reduction target of 30%) supported by present scientific knowledge and understanding of the hypoxic zone, nutrient loads, fate and transport, sources and control options? i. Should the hypoxic zone reduction goal be revised? ii. Can the areal extent of Gulf hypoxia be reduced while also protecting water quality and social welfare in the basin? B. Based on the current state-of- the-science, what level of reduction in causal agents (nutrients/discharge) will be needed to achieve the current reduction goal for the size of the hypoxic zone? C. Given the available literature and information on technologies and practices to reduce nutrient loss from agriculture, runoff from other nonpoint sources and point source discharges, discuss options (and combinations of options) for reducing nutrient flux in terms of cost, feasibility and other social welfare considerations, including: i. the most effective agricultural practices, considering of soil sustainability and avoiding unintended environmental impacts ii. the most effective actions for other nonpoint sources iii. the most effective technologies for point sources

7 Panel Chair Dr. Virginia DaleCorporate Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN Subgroup 1 – Characterization of the Causes of Hypoxia Dr. Thomas Bianchi Professor, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M university, College Station, TX Dr. Daniel Conley Professor, National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Marine Ecology, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark Dr. Robert DuceProfessor of Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Dr. Denis Gilbert Research Scientist, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Maurice Lamontague Institute, Quebec, Canada Dr. Robert Howarth David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Dr. James Sanders Director and Professor, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, GA Dr. Donelson Wright Chancellor Professor of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA

8 Subgroup 2 – Characterization of Nutrient Fate, Transport, and Sources Dr. Walter Boynton Professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, MD Dr. Alan Blumberg Director, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ Dr. William Crumpton Associate Professor and Chair of Environmental Science Graduate Program, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA Dr. Mark David Professor of Biogeochemistry, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL Dr. Richard Lowrance U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, Tifton, GA Dr. Kyle Mankin Associate Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS Dr. Judith Meyer Distinguished Research Professor, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA Dr. Hans Paerl William R. Kenan Professor, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morehead City, NC Dr. Kenneth Reckhow Professor/Chair, Environmental Sciences & Policy, Nicholas School of Environmental & Earth Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC

9 Subgroup 3: Scientific Basis for Goals and Management Options Dr. Catherine Kling Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA Dr. James Opaluch Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI Dr. Andrew Sharpley U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA Dr. Thomas Simpson Professor and Mid-Atlantic Water Quality Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Programs, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Dr. Clifford Snyder Southeast Director, International Plant Nutrient Institute, Conway, AR

10 Science Advisory Board Schedule for Hypoxia Advisory Panel 2006-2007 WhenWhatWhy September 6 – 7, 2006First Face-to-Face MeetingTo get organized and plan for report October 6, 2006Subgroup 3 TeleconferenceTo discuss advisory work for goals and management options October 16, 2006Subgroup 2 TeleconferenceTo discuss advisory work for nutrient fate, transport and sources October 17, 2006Subgroup 1 TeleconferenceTo discuss advisory work for characterization of the causes of hypoxia October 30, 2006Subgroup 3 TeleconferenceTo discuss individual assignments for specific topics November 15, 2006Subgroup 1 TeleconferenceTo discuss individual assignments for specific topics November 21, 2006Subgroup 2 TeleconferenceTo discuss and review individual assignments for specific topics November 27, 2006Subgroup 3 TeleconferenceTo review outlines submitted by individual members December 6 – 8, 2006Second Face-to-Face MeetingTo discuss progress in Subgroups; to hear scientific briefings; to discuss issues, future work, assignments and deadlines December 18, 2006Subgroup leaders and ChairOutline finalized Jan. 25 from 10am – 1pmSubgroup 2 TeleconferenceTo discuss draft text and assess progress toward Draft Advisory January 26 from 9am – 12pmSubgroup 1 TeleconferenceTo discuss draft text and assess progress toward Draft Advisory February 20 from 2:00-5:00 pmSubgroup 3 TeleconferenceTo discuss draft text and assess progress toward Draft Advisory February 5, 2007All members submit revised draft text to their DFO. February 8, 2007Draft Advisory posted on SAB website February 12 from 9am – 12pmHAP Teleconference to discuss Draft Advisory Revisions to Draft Advisory --- everyone February 28 – Mar. 2, 2007Third Face-to-Face MeetingA working meeting to discuss Draft Advisory, resolve issues and assignments for remaining revisions March-May, 2007Many Subgroup and HAP conference calls June 13 - 15, 2007Fourth Face-to-Face MeetingFinal discussion of Draft Advisory; Final revisions. Final Revisions to Draft Advisory Report complete by September, 2007

11 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Overarching Findings & Recommendations Occurrence of hypoxia has grown in intensity, duration and spatial distribution in the last 50 years Adaptive management approach is recommended that promotes control action implementation while we continue to advance knowledge Load increase from expanded grain-based ethanol must be addressed or will offset reductions from control measures/approaches proposed by Panel Need to prepare state or sub-basin specific reduction strategies and implementation plans once nutrient reduction goals are established

12 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Causes of Gulf Hypoxia Both N and P limit eutrophication Limiting nutrient varies spatially and temporally N:P:Si ratios are not in ranges expected to produce desirable phytoplankton Autochthonously produced carbon is not currently considered to have a major role in size and extent of Gulf hypoxic zone

13 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Hypoxic Zone Reduction Goal 5,000 km 2 was a broad science- management goal based on limited knowledge but we do not have sufficient new knowledge to justify establishing a new goal (tentative recommendation)

14 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Nutrient Reduction Goals Establish both N and P goals N: Based on Scavia, et al and Bierman, et al, recommend new N reduction goal of 45% from ____ baseline year P: Data sufficient to indicate P is limiting at some times/locations but does not yet provide adequate information to define reduction levels to achieve hypoxia goal Will likely propose adaptive management approach for P

15 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Tentative AM approach to P goal PSs estimated at ~27% of P and 10% of N load Recommend that all major point sources reduce P loads to design flow and a concentration of 0.3 mg/l, which would be about a 20% P reduction (Proposal that N loads be based on 3mg/l at design flows) Proposed that a comparable load reduction target be assigned to ag sources –Many local P impairments related to Ag that PS upgrades will not address –Equitable with PSs –Leaning towards same goal for N &P (45%) and PS and Ag allocations add up to close to that

16 March 2, 2007 Preliminary Major Ag Policy Recommendations Reform commodity subsidies to create conservation benefits (details coming) Expand conservation compliance and enforcement Do not rely solely on voluntary programs Focus conservation programs on nutrient reductions Target efforts for maximum nutrient benefits Give nutrient reduction-WQ benefits priority in rating/scoring systems for program eligibility –CRP: Environmental Benefits Index –EQIP: Eligibility rating criteria –CSP(?): Enhancements based on reduction level

17 HAP Schedule/Plans Revised drafts of sections by end of March Subgroup and Panel calls during April to refine/fill gaps in draft report Have draft report for panel, peer review and public comment by mid-late May Panel meeting on June 13-15 to reach consensus on detailed report findings and recommendations Final revisions and agreement during July- August and submit to EPA Release report in September

18 Two little known public web sites Hypoxia Advisory Panel page: Hypoxia Advisory Panel reference documents page (contains 2/28/07 pre-meeting draft):

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