Harmful Algal Blooms Bill Goes to the President

The House and Senate have agreed on a measure to address harmful algal blooms.  S 1254, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act Amendments Act has been passed by both chambers and sent to the President for signature.
The Act amends the original 1998 Act to create a new national HAB/Hypoxia program and an expanded interagency taskforce (to include CDC) to:

  • coordinate research efforts of all Federal programs that address the chemical, biological, and physical components of marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;
  • support development of institutional mechanisms and financial instruments to further the objectives of the program; and
  • promote new technologies.

The program and taskforce would be led and managed by NOAA.  Under the legislation, NOAA must develop a comprehensive research plan and action strategy that includes an integrated assessment of the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms with a particular emphasis on the Great Lakes including the status of and gaps within current research, monitoring, management, prevention, response, and control by all partners.  To accomplish this, the bill authorizes $20,500,000 for each fiscal year 2014-2018.