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Senate Passes Great Lakes Admendment to Fight Harmful Algal Blooms

28 Sep 2017, 12:03 pm

It was announced on September 26th, 2017 that the U.S. Senate had passed bi-partisan legislation to continue helping protect the fresh water bodies of the United States. This legislation, which is the re-authorization of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA), was first enacted in 1998. This act has been the federal government research and response toolkit for algal blooms for the past 20 years, and it serves to:

  • Establish health advisories for freshwater toxins, specifically the cyanobacterial toxins microcystins and cylindrospermopsin
  • Develop Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and hypoxia (low oxygen levels) forecast products through more comprehensive monitoring integrated with satellite coverage and modeling of ocean, coastal, and freshwater zones, to provide time for mitigation and response
  • Develop and deploy lower cost, easy to use, and real-time sensors for early detection of hypoxia, HAB cells and toxins
  • Improving understanding of the effects of HAB toxins on human and animal health.

Senators efforting this cause included U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Gary Peters (D-MI). This is especially important for districts served by Senators Portman and Peters, as many of there constituents rely and depend on the resources of the Great Lake, but in recent years have been dealing with more harmful algal blooms. For instance, in August 2014, the harmful algal bloom develop

ment was so large across the western basin of Lake Erie that it led to a water crisis for the city of Toledo, with the city of 400,000 going without drinkable water for 3 straight days. It also led hypoxia, very low oxygen levels in the water, in the western basin, which significantly impacted the fish population in this part of the lake.

You can read on this act here.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie (Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

 

 

 

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