Role of SERA-46 in fostering collaboration and improvement toward nutrient reduction goals in the Mississippi/Ohio River Basin

Author(s): Baker, B.; Burger, W.; Ingram, R.

The Southern Extension and Research Activities committee number 46, is one of a group of formal USDA Nation Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Land Grant University funded committees designed to promote multistate research and extension activities. SERA-46 was created to provide a framework for collaboration and advancement of priorities with the Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force (Hypoxia Task Force). Land Grant Universities (LGU) throughout the Mississippi/Ohio River basins are uniquely positioned to assist state agencies and the Hypoxia Task Force in the development and implementation of state level nutrient reduction strategies. Researches as these universities participate in interdisciplinary research ranging from soil science, nutrient transport, water quality, and human behavior, which offer support toward the mitigating nutrient pollution to the Gulf of Mexico to secure water quality for environmental and economic enterprises. In addition to a diversity of scientists, LGUs each have expansive extension units that can assist in disseminating innovative best management practices and solutions to farmers across the basins. Recent strides made by SERA-46 in support of state and Hypoxia Task Force nutrient reduction goals include securing extramural funds to develop a framework for tracking progress toward nutrient reduction goals via reductions in nonpoint sources of pollution, securing funds for watershed capacity building, developing social indicators related to nutrient reduction, and a large-scale transforming drainage project in the Midwest. Mississippi State University has contributed significantly toward advancement of priorities within the state through a semantic analysis of all Mississippi/Ohio River basin Nutrient Reduction Strategies to develop a guideline for optimizing plans toward goals of the Hypoxia Task Force, leading the social indicator development efforts, farmer engagement, farm system sustainability trainings, and BMP efficiency investigations.

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