. "5 Monitoring the Effectiveness of Nutrient Control Actions and Strategies." Nutrient Control Actions for Improving Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin and Northern Gulf of Mexico. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Nutrient Control Actions for Improving Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin and Northern Gulf of Mexico
to monitor water quality of the river’s mainstem. These efforts include a Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP) for the upper portion of the Mississippi River. The LTRMP, an element of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Management Program (EMP), is administered by the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, with participation of the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the five upper Mississippi River basin states of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin (USGS, 2008c; see also USGS, 1999 for a report of ecological status and trends on the upper river). The USGS has maintained some NASQAN stations on the river, but “today only a few mainstem water quality sites remain in the USGS network downstream of Lake Pepin” (NRC, 2008). The previous NRC 2008 report also discussed two landmark Mississippi River water quality assessments conducted in the 1990s. These studies were led by, respectively, Robert Meade (1995) and Donald Goolsby (1999), both of whom were USGS scientists at the time of these surveys. More recently, the SPARROW study by the USGS scientists has provided quantitative and detailed information regarding the sources of nutrient loadings across the river basin (Alexander et al., 2008).
As called for in the 2001 task force action plan, an Upper Mississippi River Sub-Basin Hypoxia Nutrient Committee (UMRSHNC) has been established to help promote regional research and interstate coordination. Its members are state agricultural and natural resources agencies from the five upper Mississippi River basin states. The UMRSHNC role to date has been primarily to solicit and facilitate stakeholder input and to sponsor workshops. The Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) is important entity for promoting interstate cooperation and education on a variety of Mississippi River water quality and related river issues (e.g., navigation, hydropower relicensing). Established in 1981, the UMRBA has its headquarters in St. Paul, MN and employs five full-time staff, including a water quality program coordinator. Neither UMRSHNC nor UMRBA have the extent of resources or staff necessary to administer the NCIIs and conduct the associated water quality coordination and evaluation responsibilities. Both organizations, however, have important and relevant experience in the region that would represent useful input to future nutrient control and water quality efforts.
The multiple water quality programs across the Mississippi River basin have improved scientific understanding, communication, and cooperation on Mississippi River water quality issues; however, none of them are conducted specifically with regard to Clean Water Act reporting requirements. The previous NRC report also noted that “Although the LTRMP has collected data from thousands of locations along the river for more than 15 years, these efforts have tended to be seasonal and limited to five river reaches. There has been no mechanism to extrapolate these data to intervening portions of the river or to other periods of time” (NRC, 2008). That 2008 report also noted that water quality monitoring of the Mississippi River by the ten states along the river is very limited in many areas, inconsistent among states, and is not well