About Nutrient Management

Excess Nutrients Contribute to Low Dissolved Oxygen Levels



The Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) drains approximately 41% of the contiguous United States. US Geological Survey (USGS) models show the majority of MARB nutrient loadings come from sources upstream of Louisiana (LA) and a significant portion is associated with nonpoint source (such as agricultural and urban runoff). Seasonal fluxes of increased nutrients associated with runoff impact local water bodies and are a factor in development of a summer hypoxic zone (low dissolved oxygen) in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Management of nitrogen and phosphorus is needed to improve the quality of local water bodies and to help reduce the size of the GOM hypoxic zone. Management must include collaborative actions for both nonpoint sources and for regulated point source dischargers.


What Are We Doing Now?


   In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA), LA Dept of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF), LA Dept of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and LA Dept of Natural Resources (LDNR) all work on aspects of nutrient management including water quality monitoring, point source wetland assimilation, coastal river diversions, and best management practices (BMPs). Current programs such as nonpoint source pollution prevention in inland and coastal waters (LDEQ and LDNR), Master Farmer certifications (LDAF), and coastal river diversions (CPRA) are effective management practices being collectively evaluated. Additionally, monitoring in association with these programs will provide valuable baseline information that will help to determine the appropriate levels of nutrients within LA water bodies and will help to identify priority areas where nutrient issues may be addressed for the most effective results.

Where Do We Want To Be?

The LA state agencies are working together to develop a comprehensive nutrient management strategy. The strategy will take into account nonpoint and point sources of nutrients into Louisiana’s water bodies. Nutrient levels will be managed through meeting regulatory requirements and through development of incentives-based approaches. Participation of all stakeholders within the watershed community will be key throughout the strategy development and implementation processes.

Louisiana's Plan: To manage nutrient levels in inland and coastal water bodies 



A Louisiana Nutrient Management Strategy will employ methods for pollution control and nutrient capture. Incentives, such as grants or water quality credit trading, may facilitate voluntary participation in efforts to manage nutrients through realizing opportunities for both nutrient reduction and assimilation. Through LA participation in the Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) and in consideration of guidance of the HTF, GOMA, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Louisiana state agency team has identified Ten Strategic Components for a Louisiana Nutrient Management Strategy. These components serve as the framework under which strategic actions will take place.

Additional Files:

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
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