Algal Blooms & Nutrients
Currently, more than 750 aquatic ecosystems around the globe sufferdegraded ecosystem function due to urban and agricultural nutrient inputs. These inputs produce water quality impairments such as hypoxic “dead zones” and harmful algal blooms (HABs). On Saturday August 2nd, 2014, at 2 am, the City of Toledo issued a “Do Not Drink” notice to over 400,000 citizens as a response to excess levels of the algal toxin microcystin in the treated drinking water. The microcystin resulted from the presence of a significant HAB at the intake to the water treatment plant in Lake Erie.
Since the early 2000s, the Ohio Water Resources Center directly funded nearly 20 new projects and investigators that led to student education in the area directly related to nutrient runoff, waste water treatment, microcystin treatment, algae and nutrients tracking, and water quality. These projects led to creation of a powerful alliance of research capabilities in the State that is able to assist different stakeholders in solving algal bloom & nutrient issues from a field-to-faucet perspective.
Actions 2014 - 2015
- Early-September: In collaboration with Ohio EPA’s Chief of Drinking and Groundwater created prioritized list of research needs related to HABs
- Mid-September: Released annual (104)b WRRI RFP emphasizing nutrient management and HABs priority area
- Mid-October: Co-sponsored and organized seminars on HABs for researchers, students and water professionals
- October: Provided expertise for framing the Field-to-Faucet initiative at OSU
- November-December: Lead state-wide team to submit a proposal to the Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR) to provide near-term solutions to HABs impacts in water treatment plants
- Mid-December: Submitted a preliminary proposal to NSF to establish the Center for Regional Engagement in Watershed Solutions (CREWS) (researchers and partners from 26 entities)
- January: Framed an integrated investment plan with the Global Water Initiative at OSU
- January: Using (104)b WRRI and state funds for supporting projects addressing HABs
- March: Conducted webinar to foster regional inter-disciplinary collaborations addressing issues related to HABs