Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Fall 2015


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015


Copyright @ 2015 Thien Chau


Since 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has worked through a twelve state watershed nutrient task force to combat the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia that occurs every summer due to nutrient runoff in the Mississippi River basin. The hypoxic condition in the Gulf causes massive ecological and economic harm to the region and progress in addressing the issue has been slow. The twelve task force states represent a north-south cross section of the Basin and a variety of political cultures and structures. This research examines the openness to public participation resulting from political culture in these states and how that openness impacts progress in reducing nutrient runoff. Results show that original theories of political culture are less applicable in nutrient reduction politics. The relationship between openness to public involvement in reduction strategy and actual progress was also unsupported by the findings.