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Inland HABs Discussion Group Webinar Held This Week

EPA, CDC, and USGS hosted an Inland Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Discussion Group webinar this week on record-breaking HABs in the US in 2015.  The webinar featured updates from the three Federal agencies, and presentations on recent HAB activities taking place on the Ohio River, along the coast of California, and in Colorado.  Highlights from the webinar included:

  • HABHRCA: The “Comprehensive HAB and Hypoxia Research Plan and Action Strategy” that was required to be developed by Federal agencies as part of the 2014 Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABRHCA) is expected to be published by end of the year.  Following its release, the Federal agencies will conduct a webinar, as well as meetings with stakeholders in January 2016.
  • CDC’s One Health HAB Data: CDC is doing beta testing this fall on a new HAB data system that is expected to be completed by late spring/early summer 2016 as part of the “One Health” integrated approach to prevent and detect public health threats.  CDC is looking for more state HABs data, please contact Lorrie Backer of CDC at lfb9@cdc.gov if you have data to share.
  • Ohio River Bloom: The Ohio River Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) worked with states and Federal agencies to assess and address the 600+ mile algal bloom on the Ohio River this summer.  The bloom is finally gone, but many lessons are still being learned about its cause and duration.
  • California/Pacific Weather and Blooms: California is experiencing a “Year of Crazy—Droughts, Blooms, Warm Blobs, and other Anomalies in the Eastern Pacific.” These conditions have led to:  inland HABs; algal tides along the pacific coast from Alaska to Santa Barbara; changes in marine life behavior; toxic fish and shellfish contamination; and a great hope that the El Nino will bring much needed rain to California.
  • The CyAN (Cyanobacteria Assessment Network) Project: The CyAN Project is being conducted by USGS, NOAA, NASA, and EPA to use remote sensing for identifying cyanobacteria blooms is progressing.  The team is now asking for Federal and state water quality data for natural and manmade lakes and ponds.  Please contact Keith Loftin of USGS at kloftin@usgs.gov or 785-832-3543 (office) or 785-764-1408 (cell) to share state temporal/spatial datasets on turbidity, phytoplankton, cyanotoxins, pigments, and nutrients.  The national dataset will be made available to everyone at the end of the project.
  • Colorado HABs: The Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Water Quality Control Division have developed Draft Response Plans to HABs for Recreation and Drinking Water.  The Drinking Water Program also worked with the Colorado Water Utility Council and others to develop guidance on HABs in drinking water using EPA’s new health advisory levels for microcystin and cylindrospermopsin.

To view the slides from the webinar, go to:  http://www2.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/webinar-november-5-2015.  To sign up for the Inland HABs Discussion Group email list, please contact Lesley D’Anglada of EPA at DAnglada.Lesley@epa.gov.