Ohio Sea Grant releases first-year summary of Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative

Ohio Sea Grant, on behalf of The Ohio State University, the University of Toledo and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, has released the annual report covering the first year of funding for the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, which seeks solutions for harmful algal blooms in Ohio.

Following the Toledo water crisis in August 2014, the Ohio Department of Higher Education offered $2 million in funding to Ohio universities for collaborative research focused on reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and inland lakes. Matching funding from participating Ohio universities increased this investment to just over $4 million.


Providing answers

The first 18 projects funded under this initiative have already provided answers that have helped water treatment operators, regulators, farmers and legislators deal with harmful algal blooms, predict future scenarios and lay a foundation for long-term bloom mitigation and prevention.

“The research community working to address the harmful algal bloom issue across the state has faced numerous scientific unknowns related to how to manage the blooms, how to predict bloom movement, how to help water treatment plant operators efficiently clean water and how to address human health risk,” said Dr. Christopher Winslow, interim director of Ohio Sea Grant. “Because of this collaborative effort, we are better able to address the impact of blooms and guide future efforts to reduce their size and frequency.”

Information about the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, or HABRI, as well as partner organizations and background on the initiative, is available on the Ohio Sea Grant website at go.osu.edu/habri or at ohioseagrant.osu.edu/p/5cdp4/view.

HABRI is overseen by The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo, with Ohio Sea Grant providing proposal coordination and ongoing project management support.


New projects in April

With a second round of projects to be launched in April 2016, the Ohio Department of Higher Education has now invested $4 million in HABRI. These 31 projects led by eight Ohio universities specifically target research needs identified by Ohio agencies including the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Health, as well as partners such as the National Wildlife Federation, Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering Department and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

“Directly engaging OEPA, ODA, ODNR and ODH in identifying research needs has been key to the success of HABRI so far,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey said. “Aligning research with agency requirements puts the state in a better position to tackle the HAB problem today and other water issues tomorrow.”

Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.

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